Immigration: Texas may no longer enforce ‘sanctuary city’ policies

According to the federal court’s decision to upheld SB4, the local officers will now have to comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer requests.

In what could be regarded as a hard-hitting immigration measure, local police officers in Texas can now enquire people about their immigration status during routine checks. The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld major part of Texas law that forbids sanctuary city policies in the state.

“With one exception, SB4’s provisions do not, on their face, violate the Constitution. For the following reasons, we uphold the statute in its entirety except for the application of the “endorsement” prohibition, Tex. Gov’t Code § 752.053(a)(1), to elected officials,” Judge Edith Jones said.

The Senate Bill 4 or SB4 that prohibits sanctuary city policies was enacted by the Texas Legislature. The law ensures that local authorities cooperate with federal immigration enforcement, and necessitates local authorities to comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer requests.  It lays down duties on state officials and delineates liabilities for violation of those duties.

Taking an exception to the term “endorse” in the suit, the court said: “In sum, we are unpersuaded that, taken in context, “endorse” “readily” bears the restrictive meaning urged by the state. As written, SB4 proscribes core political speech when such “endorsement” is uttered by elected officials. The state cannot regulate the substance of elected officials’ speech under the First Amendment without passing the strict scrutiny test.”

Welcoming the decision, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement that it would help keep the country safe from “criminal aliens.”

“Today’s decision is an important step in restoring legality to our immigration system, which is what President Trump wants, what the American people deserve, and what the laws passed by Congress are intended to achieve,” Sessions said. “It is a judicial victory that will better enable federal, state, and local law enforcement to protect all Americans from criminal aliens who have harmed countless innocent Americans and should be removed from our country.”

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