A federal judge in Texas late Wednesday blocked portions of a Texas law that targeted sanctuary cities.
The move prevents Texas from punishing local law enforcement for failing to follow federal immigration law. Via Politico:
The order came two days before a Sept. 1 deadline to implement the new law, which seeks to ensure local police cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.
U.S. District Court Judge Orlando Garcia issued a preliminary injunction against most provisions of the measure, known as SB 4. The law authorizes local police to ask about immigration status during routine stops, and threatens police chiefs with misdemeanor charges and fines if they fail to enforce federal immigration laws.
The decision to put the law on a hold is a blow to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, and also to the Trump administration. In June, the Justice Department submitted a legal filing in the case to demonstrate its support.
Five of the six largest cities in Texas — Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and El Paso — are part of the suit against the law, a fact the judge noted in his order on Wednesday.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, however, is not deterred.
Unfazed by the setback, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton vowed to continue the legal battle to see the law put into action.
“Texas has the sovereign authority and responsibility to protect the safety and welfare of its citizens,” he said in a written statement. “We’re confident SB 4 will ultimately be upheld as constitutional and lawful.”
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The bill was set to go into effect Friday, but the judge’s decision throws the law’s future into uncertainty. I’d be willing to be, however, that this is one of many battles we’ll see before the Supreme Court in the future.