Texas’ anti-immigrant ban on sanctuary cities that was supposed to go into effect on Friday has been blocked by a federal judge in San Antonio, TX. Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio — Texas’ four largest cities — filed a lawsuit against the state in June over the new law, arguing that its provisions were unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Orlando L. Garcia granted a temporary injunction against Senate Bill 4 while the case is heard. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed SB 4 in May, it has been characterized as one of the harshest anti-immigrant bills in the country and it has ignited fury in Texas’ largely Democratic cities — one of which, Austin, TX, handed SB 4 its first legal defeat after the state’s attorney general Ken Paxton attempted to sue the city for failing to enforce the law before it went into effect.
Garcia concluded that local and state officials provided overwhelming evidence indicating SB 4 “will erode public trust and make many communities and neighborhoods less safe.” He also wrote that SB 4 could be financially disastrous for the state: “There is also ample evidence that localities will suffer adverse economic consequences which, in turn, harm the state of Texas,” he wrote.
Had SB 4 gone into effect as planned on Friday, Texas would have imposed severe penalties on state officials and cities refusing to enforce Republican lawmakers’ anti-immigrant agenda — like forcing municipalities to inform Immigration and Customs Enforcement when they arrest undocumented immigrants and hold them until they can be detained by federal officers. Garcia contented that this so-called “detainer provision” would violate the Fourth Amendment. SB 4 would also give police officers the power to question the immigration status of anyone they arrest.
Abbott released a statement on Wednesday evening declaring that the state would appeal Garcia’s decision.