Texas Asks Court to Allow Sanctuary Ban09/22 06:13
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Attorneys for Texas are asking a federal appeals court
in New Orleans to let the state's law banning "sanctuary cities" take effect.
U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia blocked much of the law Aug. 31 --- the
day before it was to take effect.
On Friday, three judges of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will be
asked to let the law take effect ahead of a November appeal hearing.
Under the law, Texas police chiefs could face removal from office and
criminal charges for not complying with federal immigration officials' requests
to detain people jailed on non-immigration offenses.
Various local governments in Texas are fighting the law, which also allows
police to inquire about people's immigration status during routine interactions
like traffic stops --- a provision Garcia didn't block.
Municipal officials from Dallas, Houston, El Paso, San Antonio and Austin
are among the opponents. The American Civil Liberties Union is fighting the law
on behalf of the city of El Cenizo. The Mexican American Legal Defense fund
represents other localities.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has praised the Texas law and the Department
of Justice filed arguments in support of it, as did several states' attorneys
The law's opponents argue in briefs that the law puts law enforcement
officers in violation of the Fourth Amendment by requiring them to detain
people suspected of illegal immigration without probable cause. They also argue
that it illegally puts local police in the federal role of immigration
enforcement officers, and that it is unconstitutionally vague as to exactly
when a local law enforcement officer would be in violation of the law.
Supporters of the state law say immigration officials have already
determined probable cause when they seek to have local officials detain
someone. They also argue that federal and local officials have a long history
of cooperation on immigration matters and that the law is clear in its
prohibition against local government's policies restricting immigration
The law, known as Senate Bill 4, would have taken effect Sept. 1 had Garcia
not issued a stay last month.
The measure won passage in the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature and
was signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott despite opposition from business
groups, which worried that it could cause a labor-force shortage and send a
negative economic message.
Judges James Dennis, Leslie Southwick and Stephen Higginson will hear the
arguments. Dennis was nominated to the court by Democratic President Bill
Clinton; Higginson, by Democratic President Barack Obama; Southwick, by
Republican President George W. Bush.