A three-judge panel of Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that parts of the Texas anti-sanctuary law can take effect while the merits of the case are heard in U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia’s court. Among other things, the panel narrowed Garcia’s hold on a provision requiring law enforcement officials to honor U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer requests. This is the highest court to date to rule on a state’s attempt to crack down on local sanctuary policies.

The Texas law requires local officials to “comply with, honor and fulfill” all detainer requests. Garcia enjoined the provision in an August ruling. The judges removed Garcia’s injunction but said the provision does not require detention based on every detainer issued. They wrote, “Rather, the 'comply with, honor, and fulfill' provision mandates that local agencies cooperate according to existing ICE detainer practice and law.” Moreover the judges said that if a person provides proof of lawful presence, a jail need not comply with a detainer request.

Judge Garcia also enjoined a provision that says local entities may “not prohibit or materially limit” persons who, in effect, have authority that may impact immigration, from “assisting or cooperating with a federal immigration officer as reasonable or necessary, including providing enforcement assistance. The panel stayed his injunction, ruling that a federal statute allows such assistance and the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Arizona v. United States did not disallow it. However, the judges said the words “materially limit” could be interpreted too broadly and left Garcia’s related injunction in place for now.

The panel found another provision of the Texas law to be consistent with Arizona v. United States. The law incorporates civil and criminal penalties for local governments that “adopt, enforce, or endorse” policies that limit enforcement of immigration laws. The panel removed Garcia’s injunction except with respect to the word “endorse,” which the judges said was too broad and needed clarification.

Read more in The Washington Times.

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Updated: Tue, Oct 10th 2017 @ 4:35pm EDT