State to Enforce SB 4, the 'Sanctuary Cities' Law

The state Attorney General’s Office is now accepting “sanctuary city” complaints.

That means Texas is now enforcing Senate Bill 4, which allows the state top penalize or even remove local officials who back policies that block the enforcement of federal immigration laws. SB 4 also makes it a crime to refuse to comply with federal immigration detainers.

The A-G’s office says enforcing SB 4 will “prevent dangerous criminals from being released back into our Texas communities.”

The action follows a court ruling this week from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

A previous federal district court ruling stopped the detainer provisions and several anti-sanctuary provisions of SB 4.  But this week, the 5th Circuit stayed the district court injunction as to some of the anti-sanctuary provisions and the detainer provisions -- provided the federal government complies with its detainer policies.

The district court injunction remains effective only for limited purposes specifically for the phrases “materially limit” and “endorse” in SB 4, allowing the attorney general to enforce the remainder of the law.

“The 5th Circuit quickly confirmed … (that) Senate Bill 4 is a common-sense measure that prevents governments in Texas from standing in the way of federal enforcement of immigration law,” according to a statement from the AG’s Office. “By enforcing the key provisions of SB 4, we will prevent dangerous criminals from being released back into our Texas communities.”

SB 4 allows the attorney general to receive complaints from residents within the jurisdiction of a local entity -- or that are enrolled or employed by an institution of higher education -- regarding violations of the anti-sanctuary or detainer provisions. The complaints must include sworn statements asserting facts regarding the alleged violation.

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