ibusinesslines.com March 18, 2018

US Court Upholds Most Of Texas Law To Punish 'Sanctuary Cities'

14 March 2018, 10:29 | Melissa Porter

Texas Anti-Sanctuary Law Mostly Survives Appeal Court Fight

Gov. Greg Abbott R-Texas quickly took to Twitter to announce that the “law is in effect” and that “allegations of discrimination were rejected.”

In January, the U.S. District Court in Corpus Christi ruled that two court-appointed special masters must oversee the Texas foster care system for three years.

The Texas law allows police officers to ask people during routine stops whether they're in the USA legally and threatens sheriffs with jail time for not cooperating with federal immigration authorities. The court agreed with the plaintiffs, however, that a provision barring elected officials from "endorsing" sanctuary cities policies is probably unconstitutional.

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. Critics complain this so-called "show me your papers" provision will lead to racial profiling of USA citizens and law-abiding immigrants.

So-called sanctuary cities often do not use municipal funds or resources to enforce federal immigration laws. At Nov. 7 oral arguments, the judges told lawyers they were concerned the harsh penalties could chill individuals' constitutional right to speak out personally against the ban.

"We are going to confront unsafe sanctuary cities", Trump said during his visit. "We are also pleased that the court narrowed the law in certain respects and accepted Texas' critical concession that localities are free to decline ICE requests for assistance to preserve local resources". He also blocked sections that prohibit local entities from pursuing "a pattern or practice that "materially limits" the enforcement of immigration laws" and another that prohibits "assisting or cooperating" with federal immigration officers as reasonable or necessary. After the governor signed the bill during a Facebook Live in May, the city of El Cenizo and Maverick County sued to stop the law and was joined by several local governments, including the cities of Houston, Austin and San Antonio, as well as El Paso County.

Greg Abbott praised the ruling.

"We continue the struggle on two fronts: another court appeal, and the work to elect new representation in Congress", he said.

Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton applauded the ruling with a statement saying "dangerous criminals shouldn't be allowed back into our communities" to possibly commit more crimes. In their decision on Tuesday, the judges recommended the case go back to the district court level "with instructions to dismiss the vacated injunction provisions". That case was filed March 6 in federal court in Sacramento, the state capital.

From here, all parties will await a final ruling from the federal court in San Antonio, with an expectation that this case will ultimately be heard by the Supreme Court.

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