A San Antonio federal judge has blocked the state of Texas from enforcing a ban on sanctuary cities, thereby questioning how constitutional a law is that has pitted state Republican leaders against multiple Democratic-leaning cities.
The ruling itself, however, is only temporary and cannot go into effect as planned while a lawsuit recently filed against it goes forward. The decision, which the state will appeal as expected, is seen as a major blow to one of the biggest state-issued immigration laws in the entire United States. It also stops a measure that has been backed by President Donald Trump’s administration, which many critics had deemed to be anti-Latino.
The law, which is known as SB4, stops cities and counties from enacting policies that are designed to limit immigration enforcement. It also enables police officers to to question the immigration status of anyone that they either detain or arrest, and it also threatens officials with penalties that include jail time, fines, and removal from office if they violate the law. Under the law, local officials are also ordered to cooperate with immigration detainer requests, meaning that foreign-born detainees can be transferred to federal custody once they are released from either state or local custody.
Many Texas cities filed a joint lawsuit against the state looking to strike down the law, and in a recent ruling, a San Antonio federal judge issued a preliminary injunction that stopped the law from going into effect as planned while the lawsuit goes through.
Those who oppose the law say it essentially allows racial profiling of anyone who is Hispanic and prevents immigrants who are both legal and illegal from reporting crimes to police officers. Those who support the law, however, say that those who oppose it have distorted its overall intent and impact. Governor Greg Abbott is also confident that the law will be upheld and found to be constitutional.