Texas Anti-Sanctuary Law Upheld in U.S. Court of Appeals

Press Releases

March 14, 2018

Ensuring the safety and security of our communities

WASHINGTON – The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) is heralding a decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upholding a Texas anti-sanctuary statute as a major victory for the rule of law and a repudiation of local communities that promote sanctuary policies. In its decision, the court agreed with the reasoning in a friend-of-the-court brief that IRLI had filed in the case in support of the law.

Texas Senate Bill 4 (SB4), which became law in September 2017, requires all local police agencies in the state to honor immigration detainers issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and forbids cities, counties and local agencies from enacting or imposing non-cooperation or sanctuary policies. SB4 also includes several strong enforcement provisions providing for sanctions against local officials who would defy the new law.

The March 13 decision by a three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals in El Cenizo et al. v. Texas unanimously held that the primary components of SB4 are constitutional. Specifically, the ruling allowed three primary components of the law to proceed in their entirety: one which forbids local entities from limiting the enforcement of federal immigration law; another that requires law enforcement agencies to comply with detainer requests submitted by ICE officers; and another that imposes penalties on local entities and public officials who violate the law.

“This is a Texas-sized victory for common sense immigration policy as well as respect for the rule of law,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel for IRLI. “When local law enforcement is allowed to cooperate with federal immigration officers, it results in safer, more prosperous communities. Gov. Abbott and Attorney General Paxton showed great leadership in advancing SB4. While some states are going the other direction with disastrous outcomes, Texas is a shining example of smart and effective immigration law.”

The case is City of El Cenizo v. Texas, No. 17-50762 (5th Cir. 2018).

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • [email protected]

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