Sanctuary no more

US Appeals Court rules in favor of the Texas ban on 'sanctuary' cities

By —— Bio and Archives--March 14, 2018

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US Appeals Court rules in favor of the Texas ban on 'sanctuary' cities
If you’re a supporter of so-called sanctuary cities, you were just handed a big defeat by the 5th Circuit Court of appeals. Last summer, when the Texas legislature passed Senate Bill 4 (SB-4) it was signed by Governor Greg Abbott and was immediately challenged by the ACLU, immigration activists, and Democrat-controlled cities. The law sought to increase, if not force, cooperation between local Texas law enforcement and state and federal immigration authorities.  It also penalized non-compliance - essentially attacking the very foundation of “sanctuary cities.”

Texas’ crackdown on “sanctuary cities”

Several of its provisions were put on hold in August, while lawsuits made their way through the courts.

Today, a ruling came down and virtually all of its most controversial provisions were upheld. 

From NBC5 Dallas Fort Worth:

A federal appeals court Tuesday upheld the bulk of Texas’ crackdown on “sanctuary cities” in a victory for the Trump administration as part of its aggressive fight against measures seen as protecting immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally.

The ruling by a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans allows Texas to enforce what critics call the toughest state-level immigration measure since Arizona passed what critics called a “Show Me Your Papers” law in 2010.

The law allows police officers to ask people during routine stops whether they’re in the U.S. legally and threatens sheriffs with jail time for not cooperating with federal immigration authorities.

Perhaps more importantly, it forbids any municipality from banning law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration laws.  In other words, it blocks the blanket “refuse to comply” policy at the heart of a sanctuary city.  This is a big slap in the face for several large Texas cities who were hoping to hand immigration hawks a loss…

DOJ sued California for its “sanctuary” status

Leading the lawsuit were Texas’ largest cities— including Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin — in a state where the Hispanic population has grown at a pace three times that of white residents since 2010.

Under the Texas law, local authorities who fail to honor federal requests to hold people jailed on offenses that aren’t immigration related for possible deportation can be fined. Police chiefs, sheriffs and constables could also now face removal from office and even criminal charges for failing to comply with such federal “detainer” requests.

Not only will this go down as a defeat for Texas sanctuary city supporters, it should make California and other left-leaning states nervous as well. As long as this stands as precedent, it will make similar fights in other Democrat strongholds much more difficult.

Lee Gelernt, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, said they were disappointed in the ruling and will closely monitor how the law is implemented. The only part of the Texas law removed by the court was a portion prohibiting local officials from “endorsing” policies that limit immigration enforcement.

“This is the toughest state law in the country,” he said.

The ruling comes just a week after the DOJ sued California for its “sanctuary” status.  You can bet this decision will feature prominently in that case, and will end up being a part of eventual Supreme Court decisions on the matter.


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