AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Monday issued a mixed decision on a Texas law to punish "sanctuary cities" by allowing a few parts of the law to take effect but blocking major parts of it.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit allowed the part of the Texas law that called on localities to abide by detainer requests from federal authorities to hold people in local jails to allow for checks of suspected U.S. immigration law violations.
But the court left in place a lower court decision to block a part of the law that would punish local officials who criticized state policies on immigration enforcement.
The appeals court has yet to render a full decision on the law.
The Republican-backed law is the first of its kind since Republican Donald Trump became president in January, promising to crack down on illegal immigrants and localities that protect them. Texas is the U.S. state with the longest border with Mexico.
In late August, Chief U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia in San Antonio found the legislation was unlikely to withstand constitutional scrutiny and blocked sections of the law just days before it was to take effect.
While the case is on appeal, the Fifth Circuit allowed a part of the law to take effect that requires law enforcement agencies to “comply with, honor, and fulfill” any immigration detainer request issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
It limited the decision by saying, "law enforcement agencies need not comply with or fulfill a detainer request when a detainee 'provide(s) proof' of lawful immigration status."
The court left in place Garcia's block on parts of the law that would punish by up to a year in prison local officials for non-cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by James Dalgleish and Jeffrey Benkoe)