A federal judge late Wednesday temporarily blocked Texas’ hard-line “sanctuary cities” law that would have allowed police officers to ask people in a routine stop whether they are in the U.S. legally. It also threatened jail time for sheriffs that do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
The law being blocked is known as Senate Bill 4, it has been championed by President Trump’s administration and was to take effect on Friday. The Texas law was viewed as the toughest on immigration in the nation and is similar to the Arizona “Show Me Your Papers” law initiated in 2010. That law was later struck down by the Supreme Court.
U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia from San Antonio gave the ruling as tension about immigration enforcement in Texas rose in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Houston officials have been trying to assure families who had to leave their homes because of flooding that they would not be asked about their immigration status in needed shelters. Art Acevedo, the Houston Police Chief, and critic of the immigration law got word of the federal judge’s decision at the downtown Houston convention center that is now housing 10,000 people who need shelter. Acevedo said, “We needed a break. That’s a break for us.” He then gave a high-five to another officer.
The law made it through the Republican controlled legislature with no problems even though it was opposed by business groups worried about the economic implications and labor shortages. Judge Garcia’s 94-page ruling said that the Texas law was pre-empted by an existing federal statute and was therefore unconstitutional. The judge also noted that when the law was being considered in public, only eight people testified for it while 1,600 came to oppose it. Garcia wrote that there “is overwhelming evidence by local officials, including local law enforcement, that SB 4 will erode public trust and make many communities and neighborhoods less safe.” He added that “localities will suffer adverse economic consequences which, in turn, will harm the state of Texas.”
Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott, who signed the law in May, said that the state would appeal immediately. He expressed confidence that the law would eventually prevail.
Are you in favor of the Texas federal judge blocking this new law, or do you support the hard-line law?
Credit: ABC News