Sanctuary Cities Law Faces Liberal Opposition


When Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 4, banning so-called sanctuary cities, it set into motion a new set of rules – but may also trigger a protracted legal battle

The new law takes effect Sept. 1. It means local law enforcement agencies can ask about a person’s immigration status during  traffic stop of other detainment.

It also holds sheriffs and police chiefs liable for misdemeanor charges and/or fines if they do not honor requests from federal immigration agents to hold inmates who are subject to deportation. Further, local-level elected officials can be removed from office if they deliberately disregard an immigration detainer request.

The first three salvos of opposition have come from:

--The liberal American Civil Liberties Union, which is warning visitors to Texas to expect possible violations of their constitutional rights if they’re pulled over.

--Pro-immigration activists, who deride SB 4 as “show me your papers” law.

--Critics who argue that federal courts have previously ruled that local compliance with inmate-holding requests from federal agents is voluntary.

Observers who expect a legal fight point to a 2010 immigration law passed in Arizona The Supreme Court granted an injunction shortly after its passage – and two years later, portions of the law were ruled unconstitutional – siding with the argument that only Congress – not a state – can enact immigration laws.

In addition to the ACLU, grounds vowing to sue over the law include the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund


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