A federal judge issued a temporary block Wednesday on a Texas law set to go into effect Friday that would impose a ban on so-called sanctuary cities in the state. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia in San Antonio granted a preliminary injunction on Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s battle with Democratic big city mayors, who choose not to enforce federal immigration law. The legal challenge to the Republican-controlled state legislature’s measure maintains the legislation is unconstitutional.
From the New York Times:
The law, known as Senate Bill 4 or S.B. 4, prohibits cities and counties from adopting policies that limit immigration enforcement, allows police officers to question the immigration status of anyone they detain or arrest and threatens officials who violate the law with fines, jail time and removal from office. It also directs local officials to cooperate with so-called immigration detainer requests, which allow foreign-born detainees to be transferred to federal custody after they are released from state or local custody.
“In a 94-page ruling, [Judge] Garcia blocked provisions in the law that required local law enforcement departments to comply with federal requests to hold unauthorized immigrants in their custody,” according to the Dallas Morning News. “He also blocked a part of the law that said local departments couldn’t implement policies that would ‘materially limit’ the enforcement of immigration laws.” “[The] decision is a temporary, but significant blow to Abbott and other Republican backers of the bill who said it would help keep Texans safe from undocumented immigrants that have been arrested on criminal charges but released from custody by sheriffs or other elected officials who refuse to hold the alleged criminals for possible deportation,” the Texas Tribune reports.