Houston’s mayor lauded a federal ruling to temporarily block portions of Texas’ “sanctuary cities” law that would have let police routinely question an individual’s immigration status.
“Happy to learn a federal judge blocked the Texas law aimed at making local police immigration enforcers. Need them for fighting local crime,” Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeted on Wednesday.
Turner’s comments followed his plea to undocumented immigrants earlier this week, encouraging them not to avoid emergency shelters in the wake of Harvey flooding out of fear for their immigration status.
SB 4, the law that would have allowed police to ask a person about their immigration status, even during a normal traffic stop, was hailed by President Donald Trump’s administration and the Department of Justice for its aggressive intent to illegal immigration, particularly on the US-Mexico border. Opponents of the bill argued that it violated the US Constitution and would subject some minorities to discrimination.
The law would have also punished law enforcement authorities who refused to comply with federal requests to detain individuals.
US District Judge Orlando Garcia’s ruling said that there were “overwhelming evidence by local officials, including local law enforcement, that SB 4 will erode public trust and make many communities and neighbourhoods less safe.”
“The Court cannot and does not second guess the Legislature,” Garcia’s ruling read. “However, the state may not exercise its authority in a manner that violates the United States Constitution.”
Garcia suggested that portions of the law that could pass muster after his ruling may not survive other legal tests in the future, according to The Associated Press.
Four of Texas’ largest cities — including San Antonio, Austin, Houston, and Dallas — also joined the lawsuit and claimed that the law would impose a chilling effect on their communities, The Associated Press reported.