AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – A federal judge has temporarily blocked most of Texas’ tough new “sanctuary cities” law allowing police to inquire about people’s immigration status during routine interactions such as traffic stops.
Opponents call the measure, which sailed through the Republican-controlled Legislature, a “show your papers” law. They sued, and the ruling by U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia in San Antonio keeps it from taking effect Friday, allowing the case time to proceed.
Conservatives say the crackdown on illegal immigration enforces the rule of law.
“Today’s decision makes Texas’ communities less safe,” said Governor Abbott. “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.
Attorney General Ken Paxton has vowed to continue fighting for Senate Bill 4.
“Senate Bill 4 was passed by the Texas Legislature to set a statewide policy of cooperation with federal immigration authorities enforcing our nation’s immigration laws,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Texas has the sovereign authority and responsibility to protect the safety and welfare of its citizens. We’re confident SB 4 will ultimately be upheld as constitutional and lawful.”
Under SB4, Texas could fine police and counties that don’t honor federal requests to hold people jailed on non-immigration offenses longer for possible deportation.
It also ensures that police chiefs and sheriffs could face removal from office and criminal charges for not complying with federal “detainer” requests.
Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement:
“Texans are still under threat from a catastrophic hurricane and the last thing they need is Trump’s deportation force.. Our communities and police chiefs understand the ‘show-me-your-papers’ bill is dangerous and makes no one safer.
“Tomorrow, as our families continue to recover from Hurricane Harvey, at the very least they will not be subjected to the threat of SB 4. The fight against Trump’s deportation force is nowhere near over. There is much work to be done and we will provide more information in the coming days.”