US Appeals Court Upholds Texas' Anti-Sanctuary Cities Law

US Appeals Court Upholds Texas' Anti-Sanctuary Cities Law

A Texas immigration crackdown on "sanctuary cities" took effect Tuesday after a federal appeals court upheld a divisive law backed by the Trump administration that threatens elected officials with jail time and allows police officers to ask people during routine stops whether they're in the US illegally.

A three-judge panel in New Oreans' 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Texas' current immigration enforcement laws are constitutional. The exception is a provision that punishes local officials for "endorsing" policies that limit federal immigration enforcement.

Under the law, known as SB4, the state can also require municipalities and local law enforcement officials to automatically honor federal immigration requests for assistance, particularly requests to detain individuals suspected of being in the country illegally until federal agents can take custody - except during times when an agency lacks the manpower or financial resources to comply.

"Texas Ban on Sanctuary City Policies upheld by Federal Court of Appeals".

"We are going to confront risky sanctuary cities", Trump said during his visit. Stay tuned for analysis about how the decision is likely to affect relationships between local minority communities and law enforcement officials.

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An American Civil Liberties Union lawyer vowed to keep fighting the Texas law, possibly with an eventual appeal to the U.S. They said detainers forced state or local police to hold illegal immigrants beyond their usual release time, infringing on their Fourth Amendment rights. "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".

Identified as an "anti-sanctuary cities" law, many have spoken out against it including U.S. Representatives, members of the clergy, businesses and members of the community. "The discriminatory impact of the law has already had repercussions across the state, casting a chilling effect throughout Texas' Latino communities". Virtually all of the state's urban areas filed suit to stop the law from taking effect, arguing it would hinder safety efforts and harm cities.

"The mandates, penalties and exacting punishments under SB4 upset the delicate balance between federal enforcement and local cooperation and violate the United States Constitution", said Judge Garcia.

Mike Siegel, assistant city attorney in Austin and a Democratic candidate for Congress, tweeted that Tuesday's ruling is a "terrible result".

"We are exploring all legal options going forward. The court made clear that we remain free to challenge the manner in which the law is implemented, so we will be monitoring the situation on the ground closely", said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project. "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".

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