way for Texas to en­force im­mi­gra­tion law against sanc­tu­ary cities.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - PAUL J. WE­BER

AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas im­mi­gra­tion crack­down on so-called sanc­tu­ary cities took ef­fect Tues­day af­ter a fed­eral ap­peals court up­held a law that threat­ens elected of­fi­cials with jail time and al­lows po­lice of­fi­cers to ask peo­ple dur­ing rou­tine stops whether they’re in the U.S. il­le­gally.

The rul­ing was a blow to Texas’ big­gest cities — in­clud­ing Hous­ton, Dal­las and San An­to­nio — that sued last year to pre­vent en­force­ment of what op­po­nents said is now the tough­est state-level im­mi­gra­tion mea­sure on the books in the U.S.

But for Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion, the de­ci­sion by the 5th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals in New Or­leans is a vic­tory against mea­sures seen as pro­tect­ing il­le­gal aliens. Last week, U.S. At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions sued Cal­i­for­nia over its sanc­tu­ary state law.

In Texas, the fight over a new law known as Se­nate Bill 4 has raged for more than a year, roil­ing the Repub­li­can-con­trolled Leg­is­la­ture and once pro­vok­ing a near-fist­fight be­tween law­mak­ers in the state Capi­tol. It set off de­bates that touched on race and drew back­lash from big-city po­lice chiefs and re­buke from the gov­ern­ment in Mex­ico, which is Texas’ largest trad­ing part­ner and has close ties to the state.

Since 2010, the His­panic pop­u­la­tion in Texas has grown at a pace three times that of white res­i­dents.

“Al­le­ga­tions of dis­crim­i­na­tion were re­jected. Law is in ef­fect,” Repub­li­can Gov. Greg Ab­bott tweeted af­ter the rul­ing was pub­lished.

A ma­jor fo­cal point of the Texas law is the re­quire­ment for lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to co­op­er­ate with U.S. Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment agents, or risk jail time if they don’t. Po­lice chiefs, sher­iffs and con­sta­bles could also face re­moval from of­fice for fail­ing to com­ply with such fed­eral “de­tainer” re­quests.

One sher­iff Ab­bott had in his sights was Travis County’s Sally Hernandez, an elected Demo­crat who runs Austin’s jails. Last year, Hernandez an­nounced on the day Trump was sworn in that her de­part­ment would no longer com­ply with all de­tainer re­quests, a de­ci­sion Repub­li­cans re­peat­edly pointed to in their de­fense of the mea­sure.

“Words just can’t ex­press how dis­ap­pointed I am with this rul­ing,” Hernandez said. But she said her de­part­ment would fol­low the law as di­rected by the courts.

The Texas law is of­ten slammed by op­po­nents as a near-copy­cat of Ari­zona’s “Show Me Your Pa­pers” law in 2010, but the two mea­sures are not iden­ti­cal. Whereas the Ari­zona law orig­i­nally re­quired po­lice to try to de­ter­mine the im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus of peo­ple dur­ing rou­tine stops, the Texas bill doesn’t in­struct of­fi­cers to ask.

U.S. Cir­cuit Judge Edith Jones wrote in the court’s opin­ion that the Ari­zona law — which was par­tially blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court — was more “prob­lem­atic” be­cause it man­dated the ques­tions dur­ing traf­fic stops. She added that no sus­pi­cion, rea­son­able or not, is re­quired to ask ques­tions of law­fully de­tained in­di­vid­u­als.

But the Texas law re­mains worse in “a lot of re­spects,” said Lee Gel­ernt, an at­tor­ney with the Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union, which helped lead the law­suit against SB4. He said his group was still de­cid­ing its next steps.

Po­lice chiefs across Texas said the law will create a chill­ing ef­fect that will cause alien fam­i­lies to not re­port crimes or step for­ward as wit­nesses over fears that talk­ing to lo­cal po­lice could lead to de­por­ta­tion. Crit­ics also fear it will lead to the racial pro­fil­ing of His­pan­ics and put of­fi­cers in un­ten­able po­si­tions.

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