Federal judge temporarily blocks Texas law cracking down on sanctuary cities

Texas 'sanctuary cities' law set to go into effect Friday unless court blocks it

Federal judge blocks enforcement of Texas' 'Sanctuary Cities' law

As a result of the ruling, local law enforcement won't be given the option of asking people they detain for their immigration status.

The 94-page order handed down in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio, blocks certain sections of Texas Senate Bill 4 (SB4).

Garcia granted a preliminary injunction against the law, saying the plaintiffs have shown huge likelihood that they'll be irreparably harmed, and that protecting their constitutional rights trumps the state's desire to implement SB4. Instead it prohibits local governments and police departments from setting policies which would set limits on helping the federal government deport unauthorized immigrants.

The law was slated to go into effect on Friday. With it in place, Texas doctors and health care providers can continue using the dilation and evacuation procedure - deemed the safest by medical professionals for second-trimester abortions - until a more permanent decision is made by the court.

U.S. District Judge Orlando L. Garcia granted a temporary injunction against Senate Bill 4 while the case is heard.

"The depth and reservoir of knowledge and experience possessed by local officials can be ignored".

Was decision was an early win for critics of the law, which are looking to have the entire legislation knocked down in court.

Garcia said the state law's provision went beyond the requirements of federal law and "upset the delicate balance between federal enforcement and local cooperation and violate the United States Constitution".

But on Wednesday, a federal judge ruled it was unlikely to withstand constitutional tests, and prevented implementation of key parts of the bill, called SB4.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order in January that threatened to withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities. The state, he wrote, can not "pursue its interests in a way that denies a woman her constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy before the fetus is viable". Garcia also blocked the ban on instituting sanctuary policies on First Amendment grounds. It serves the public interest to preserve the status quo to prevent harm to women and abortion providers, concluded Yeakel.

The law would have also punished local law-enforcement authorities who refused to comply with federal requests to detain people.

Congress didn't mandate that states enforce federal immigration law. But it is one of the few states to try to allow police to question people's immigration status when they are arrested or detained. "Even if we defeat SB 4, with the current governor and legislature we have, there's always going to be another threat", Moreno said. Officers, however, could not keep someone in custody based exclusively on their immigration status. The San Antonio judge halted a central piece of the law, the threat of punishment for officials who don't hand over immigrants the federal government requests.

Republican lawmakers in Texas have been pushing for an anti-sanctuary cities law for several years.

"Our communities reject the discrimination and hate peddled by President Trump and Governor Abbott", Valdez-Cox said.

"We knew this bill was not only reckless, it was unsafe and very discriminatory", Reyes said.

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