U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia placed a preliminary injunction on a Texas law that requires jail officials to honor all requests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hold illegal aliens for pickup and deportation. He also enjoined another measure that prohibits “a pattern or practice that 'materially limits' the enforcement of immigration laws.” The provisions, which were to go into effect September 1st, are part of the anti-sanctuary legislation (SB 4) Gov. Greg Abbott signed earlier this year.
In addition to the requirement to honor detainers, SB 4 incorporates penalties for local officials who refuse. Punishment could include jail time and penalties exceeding $25,000.
The law also allows police officers to question the immigration status of people they detain or arrest. Garcia left that and other provisions intact but restricted police from arresting an illegal alien based on immigration status only.
“If during a lawful detention or arrest an officer obtains information that a detained or arrested individual is undocumented he may not arrest the individual on this basis,” Garcia’s ruling said. “In sum, SB 4 gives local officers discretion to inquire and share information, but it does not provide them with discretion to act upon the information that they may obtain.”
Gov. Abbott promised to appeal Garcia’s ruling. In a statement, he said, “Today’s decision makes Texas’ communities less safe. Because of this ruling, gang members and dangerous criminals, like those who have been released by the Travis County Sheriff, will be set free to prey upon our communities. U.S. Supreme Court precedent for laws similar to Texas’ law are firmly on our side. This decision will be appealed immediately and I am confident Texas' law will be found constitutional and ultimately be upheld.”
Read more in the Texas Tribune.
Updated: Thu, Sep 14th 2017 @ 5:20pm EDT