Thursday, 18 October, 2018

5th Circuit Upholds Sanctuary Cities Law

Jay Janner  Austin American-Statesman  AP Jay Janner Austin American-Statesman AP
Johnnie Parks | 15 March, 2018, 04:39

The decision by a three judge panel Tuesday overturns a lower court ruling that blocked portions of the law past year.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit issued a ruling regarding Texas's Senate Bill 4, which was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott on May 7, 2017.

The judges didn't uphold a provision punishing local officials from "adopting, enforcing or endorsing" policies that specifically prohibit or limit enforcement of immigration laws.

The court said that the plaintiffs would likely mostly lose in their challenge to the state law known as SB 4.

The unanimous ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reverses an August ruling by Orlando L. Garcia of U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio, who implemented a temporary block on enforcing the law.

"I'm pleased the 5th Circuit recognized that Senate Bill 4 is lawful, constitutional and protects the safety of law enforcement officers and all Texans", said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. "Enforcing immigration laws prevents the release of individuals in custody who have been charged with serious crimes, and we must not allow risky criminals to return to our communities to commit more crimes", he said.

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"Dangerous criminals shouldn't be allowed back into our communities to possibly commit more crimes", Atty. "From day one, this law was racially motivated for political gain against the will of local law enforcement and to the detriment of thousands of immigrants who work, live, and call Texas home". "So we need to respond and act, within the law, to preserve as much of that trust as possible".

"With one exception, SB4's provisions do not, on their face, violate the Constitution", the panel wrote.

While not expressly mandating that every LEO in the state cooperate with all immigration enforcement action, the law stops any locale from forbidding such cooperation. Several of the nation's largest cities - including Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco - have adopted sanctuary policies, and three months into Mr. Trump's presidency, the Justice Department threatened to cut funding to such cities.

The law also requires local law enforcement agencies to comply with detainer requests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, unless there is proof that the person is a citizen or lawfully in the country.

"We are exploring all legal options going forward".

Mr. Gelernt, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project, said his organization would also be monitoring how the law was carried out.

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