Parts of SB4 blocked by federal judge

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Key provisions of Texas’ anti-sanctuary cities law have been temporarily blocked by a federal judge.

Several law enforcement agencies, especially in Central Texas, spoke out against SB4 while it was being debated by the legislature. After it passed and was signed into law, some cities, including Austin, filed a lawsuit to block it.

A federal judge in San Antonio granted an injunction, temporarily blocking several parts of SB4, also called the anti-sanctuary cities law.

“It was a 99 page decision. He carefully analyzed every possible constitutional violation,” said attorney Thomas Esparza, jr., an immigration specialist.

“We still know that there's portions of SB4 that are still there and so our community continues to be committed to fight against SB4 in its totality,” said Julieta Gariboy with United We Dream which has helped organized rallies against the bill. 

SB4 opponents have dubbed it the "show me your papers" law because it allows police officers to ask immigration status during a detention, prior to an arrest.

“The judge left that part of SB4 standing, so they can still make that inquiry, they just can't act on it,” Esparza said. 

That means the person detained will not have to answer what their status is and officers cannot arrest a person just for being undocumented. However, other parts of the law, which punished authorities who criticize SB4 will not go into effect.

“It didn't penalize people who advocated against sanctuary cities. It only penalized people who advocated for sanctuary cities. So based on a first amendment violation of free speech, it was clearly a violation,” said Esparza.

SB4 also required jails to hold individuals at ICE's request. That part of the law has been blocked for now.

“Immigration services can get off their butts and they can go march down get a probable cause affidavit from a magistrate. There's magistrates available all the time to sign probable cause affidavits if they want to charge them with a crime,” Esparza said.

Governor Greg Abbott released a statement following Wednesday’s ruling that reads in part, "Today's decision makes Texas' communities less safe. Because of this ruling, gang members and dangerous criminals, like those who have been released by the Travis County Sheriff, will be set free to prey upon our communities."

“This is not about public safety, this is about how do you terrorize folks? How do you make sure you actually criminalize them so you can definitely deport them?” said Gariboy. 

Abbott said he will appeal the federal judge's ruling.

Thursday, FOX News reported the President is expected to announce an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

That decision would affect 800,000 people who have been granted protection from deportation.
FOX writes the President will likely allow people in the program to stay until their work permits expire. For some that may be two years from now.