5th Circuit Upholds Sanctuary Cities Law

US appeals court upholds Texas law targeting sanctuary cities

Attorney General Ken Paxton, who had defended the law in court, said he was pleased with the ruling. "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.

Plaintiffs contend the law could lead to racial profiling and divert resources from local police, who would be under the threat of job loss and fines if they do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

Attorneys and immigrants' rights groups who fought against SB 4 said their next move isn't clear but that they're considering seeking a hearing before the entire 5th Circuit. Tuesday's ruling was only on the temporary injunction of SB 4; now, the district court is set to consider the law itself. "Risky criminals shouldn't be allowed back into our communities to possibly commit more crimes", Paxton said. The decision by a three judge panel Tuesday overturns a lower court ruling that blocked portions of the law previous year.

"Today, Texas families are calling on our local elected officials and law enforcement to take action to protect our families".

Chris Turner, chairman of the Texas House Democratic Caucus, said the law, whether it is constitutional or not, is bad policy. The White House has been blocked by judges elsewhere in the country from taking away federal funding from cities that shelter illegal immigrants, whom President Donald Trump has characterized as interlopers that take jobs and social services that rightfully belong to USA citizens.

State Sen. Jose Menendez dismissed the law as "unnecessary and politically motivated" adding it was opposed by "virtually everyone in law enforcement".

SB4 has sparked controversy across Texas, pitting virtually all of the Lone Star State's major cities against the state government. The Justice Department recently filed a lawsuit against California, claiming the state is hindering federal enforcement of immigration laws. "The discriminatory impact of the law has already had repercussions across the state, casting a chilling effect throughout Texas' Latino communities".

"It does nothing to make anyone safer and it will drive a wedge between law enforcement and certain people", he said.

Texas, however, had been a rare bright spot for the Trump administration, with state officials moving to back him up in opposing sanctuaries.

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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