Activist Judge Halts Texas Sanctuary City Law
On Wednesday, two days before the law was set to go into effect, a federal district judge in San Antonio blocked significant portions of Texas’ sanctuary cities ban.
In a 94-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia blocked provisions in the law requiring local law enforcement departments to comply with federal requests to hold unauthorized immigrants in their custody along with blocking a portion of the law that disallowed local departments from implementing policies that would “materially limit” the enforcement of immigration laws.
As the Dallas Morning News reported:
Garcia echoed the concerns of local officials and law enforcement leaders who had said the law would put their communities at risk and make their jobs more difficult.
“There is overwhelming evidence by local officials, including local law enforcement, that SB 4 will erode public trust and make many communities and neighborhoods less safe,” he wrote, referring to Senate Bill 4.
Abbott and other Republican lawmakers had said the law would stand up to scrutiny and do the opposite — increase public safety. Abbott had targeted Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez for implementing a so-called sanctuary city policy.
“Today’s decision makes Texas’ communities less safe,” Abbott said in a written statement. “Because of this ruling, gang members and dangerous criminals, like those who have been released by the Travis County Sheriff, will be set free to prey upon our communities.”
The order did not block a portion of the law that allows police officers to ask people’s immigration status during any legal detention, but it limited the actions officers can take after learning that a person is undocumented. Officers can only report the person’s immigration status to federal authorities.
“In sum, SB 4 gives local officers discretion to inquire and share information but it does not provide them with discretion to act upon the information that they may obtain,” Garcia wrote in a footnote.
Governor Abbott pointed out the utter ridiculousness of the ruling pointing the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a similar measure in a case about a 2010 Arizona law that is still in effect.
U.S. Supreme Court precedent for laws similar to Texas’ law are firmly on our side. This decision will be appealed immediately and I am confident Texas’ law will be found constitutional and ultimately be upheld.
State Representative Matt Krause said he was not surprised by the ruling but was confident the law would be upheld by the Supreme Court, pointing out the activism of the judge.
They can find a judge to invalidate what they want to. The product we approved was constitutionally sound and was based on precedent. It’s a good law and I’m confident it will be upheld.
And State Representative Matt Shaheen was confident Texas would ultimately prevail because the federal judge was clearly trampling on the states right to order its law enforcement as they saw fit.
For a federal judge to interfere with Texas law requiring our law enforcement to honor detainers approaches legal malpractice and endangers our citizens.
The law had been passed in an effort to crack down on so-called “sanctuary cities” within Texas, in an effort to make it impossible for any municipality within the state to refuse to comply with federal immigration enforcement agencies, and hold any law enforcement agents who did refuse to comply to be dealt with.
The actions of this judge are but the latest example of judicial activism placing a particular political opinion above the law, and in the process endangering the lives of the constituents of Texas.
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