Border City, County Sue Texas Over 'Sanctuary' Law

10 May, 2017, 04:19 | Author: Ruben Patrick

A small Texas town on the Mexico border filed suit in federal court on Tuesday seeking to throw out on USA constitutional grounds a new Texas law that aims to punish so-called "sanctuary cities".

Senate Bill 4 bans so-called sanctuary cities in the state of Texas, reinforces federal immigration law and enacts strict punishment for officials or agencies who fail to comply.

Under Texas' new law, if a law enforcement officer who oversees a jail, such as a sheriff or a chief of police, ignores an ICE detainer request, he or she may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which could result in fines or even jail time.

"[The law] is constitutional, lawful and a vital step in securing our borders", Paxton said in a statement. If local law enforcement officials don't turn over unauthorized immigrants to federal authorities who request them, they argue, those people could go on to commit more serious crimes. They say the "show me your papers" language in the legislation lets law enforcement officers inquire about immigration status during routine encounters, such as traffic stops, and doesn't protect people from such questioning while they're visiting domestic abuse shelters or public schools. All related amendments failed except an amendment by Dallas representative Victoria Neave allowing local entities to prohibit employees and officers from assisting federal immigration officers at places of worship.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the bill into law on Sunday, May 8th.

Paxton said the suit is valid under the Fourth and Fourteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

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APD does not have that kind of specific policy but Monday APD Interim Police Chief Brian Manley said a legal review is being done and changes will be considered only after the review is completed. It is similar to what Arizona passed, although the Arizona law required that they ask.

"Every major police chief in Texas, which includes some of the largest cities in the US, opposed the measure that allows police to inquire about the immigration status of anyone they detain, a situation that can range from arrest for a crime to being stopped for a traffic violation".

According to NBC 5, the governor faced opposition for the bill and ACLU of Texas Executive Director Terri Burke said, "We will fight this assault in the courts".

Those who support the ban say it is necessary to keep criminal immigrants off Texas streets.

Amid a flurry of reactions, Gov. Abbott's quote still seems most appropriate: "only criminals should worry about the new law".

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