Judge blocks most of Texas’ ‘sanc­tu­ary cities’ law

Albuquerque Journal - - OP-ED - AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

AUSTIN, Texas — A fed­eral judge late Wed­nes­day tem­po­rar­ily blocked most of Texas’ tough new “sanc­tu­ary cities” law that would have al­lowed po­lice to in­quire about peo­ple’s im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus dur­ing rou­tine in­ter­ac­tions such as traf­fic stops.

The mea­sure, SB 4, sailed through the Repub­li­can-con­trolled Leg­is­la­ture de­spite months of protests and op­po­si­tion from busi­ness groups who wor­ried that it could cause a la­bor-force short­age in in­dus­tries such as con­struc­tion. Op­po­nents sued, ar­gu­ing it vi­o­lated the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion, and U.S. District Judge Or­lando Gar­cia’s rul­ing in San An­to­nio keeps it from tak­ing ef­fect as planned Fri­day — al­low­ing the case time to pro­ceed.

In a 94-page rul­ing, Gar­cia wrote that there “is over­whelm­ing ev­i­dence by lo­cal of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing lo­cal law en­force­ment, that SB 4 will erode pub­lic trust and make many com­mu­ni­ties and neigh­bor­hoods less safe” and that “lo­cal­i­ties will suf­fer ad­verse eco­nomic con­se­quences which, in turn, will harm the state of Texas.”

Gar­cia’s or­der sus­pends the law’s most con­tentious lan­guage while sug­gest­ing that even parts of the law that can go for­ward won’t with­stand fur­ther le­gal chal­lenges.

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