The three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that parts of Senate Bill 4 can go into effect. The law allows for civil penalties of up to $25,000 per day on local jurisdictions that don't comply with federal immigration authorities and mandates that jail employees must also honor detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who has a knack for warning sanctuary cities that their days are numbered, applauded the court's decision.
“The 5th Circuit quickly confirmed what my office and I long maintained: Senate Bill 4 is a common sense measure that prevents governments in Texas from standing in the way of federal enforcement of immigration law,” Paxton said in a statement. “By enforcing the key provisions of SB 4, we will prevent dangerous criminals from being released back into our Texas communities.” (Texas Tribune)
Perhaps emboldened by the court's ruling, Paxton took the sanctuary city crackdown a bit further, informing Texans that they can submit sworn complaints to him about any local jurisdictions or officials they believe are harboring illegal immigrants.
Plaintiffs, including the cities of El Paso, El Cenizo, San Antonio, are pushing back against Paxton's claim to victory, arguing that the court maintained that local jurisdictions still have the authority to consider detainer requests individually.
Despite Monday's ruling, Senate Bill 4 has had a difficult route to passage. In August, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia blocked parts of the bill that allowed authorities to interrogate and detain those they believed to be illegal, arguing it would make Texas less safe because it would "erode public trust."
A separate panel will hear arguments for and against Senate Bill 4 in the first week of November.