More of Texas “Sanctuary Cities” Law Allowed by Appeals Court
Monday Sept 25, 2017 – A panel of three appellate judges ruled on Monday that parts of Texas immigration enforcement legislation, SB 4, can go into effect while the case works through an appeal.
What Does SB 4 Enforcement Mean?
It means that any police officers or city, county or state officials who violate Art. 2.251. (quoted below) and refuse ICE detainer requests will now be subject to criminal penalties. The only exemption is if an officer is aware of a person’s lawful status in the country via official documentation, then the officer can deny a wrongfully-issued ICE request.
In August, SB 4 Enforcement Was Temporarily Blocked
SB 4 is now being allowed to take effect, pending further litigation.
Previously on Aug 31, 2017, implementation of the “sanctuary cities” SB 4 was temporarily blocked by U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia SB4 a day before it was scheduled to go into effect.
SB4, Art. 2.251. DUTIES RELATED TO IMMIGRATION DETAINER REQUESTS. (a) A law enforcement agency that has custody of a person subject to an immigration detainer request issued by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement shall: (1) comply with, honor, and fulfill any request made in the detainer request provided by the federal government; and (2) inform the person that the person is being held pursuant to an immigration detainer request issued by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Main Elements of Texas SB 4
- Police and city, county, state and university officials at all levels will enforce immigration.
* Officials not enforcing SB 4 are subject to arrest and/or fines.
- Officials can be removed for not complying with the law.
- Encourages reporting of any official at any level – who does not fully implement SB4.
- Crime Victims and witnesses could be asked about their immigration status.
- Any official sued for following the law will be defended by the state of Texas.
Police Officers and Officials Can Now Be Fined and/or Arrested for Not Following SB4
Section 5.02 of SB4 amends the Texas Penal Code as follows:
Sec. 39.07. FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH IMMIGRATION DETAINER REQUEST. (a) A person who is a sheriff, chief of police, or constable or a person who otherwise has primary authority for administering a jail commits an offense if the person: (1) has custody of a person subject to an immigration detainer request issued by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and (2) knowingly fails to comply with the detainer request. (b) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.
In the State of Texas, Class A misdemeanors are the most serious criminal misdemeanor offense. Punishment includes a fine of up to $4,000, up to one year in prison, or both the fine and prison sentence.
Know Your Rights – From ACLU Texas
If questioned about your immigration status by local or state police:
- You do not have to answer any questions about your immigration status, including where you were born, how you entered the U.S., if you are a citizen, or if you have lawful status or “papers.”
- You have the right to remain silent. Simply say clearly that you wish to remain silent and that you do not wish to answer any questions about your status.
- If you are stopped in your car:
- Neither the driver nor passengers need to answer questions about anyone’s immigration status.
- If you are the driver of the vehicle, you should provide your driver’s license, proof of insurance and registration to the requesting officer if you have them. Do not provide false documents.
- If you are a passenger, you can ask if you are free to leave. If yes, silently leave.
- You do not need to provide foreign identification.
- If you are under arrest:
- You must give your name, residence address, and date of birth only.
- You do not have to answer any other questions. Say clearly that you wish to remain silent.
- Do not say anything else, sign anything, or make any decisions without a lawyer.
Texas’s anti-Sanctuary City bill was passed on a party-line vote by GOP members of the Texas legislature on May 5, 2017. A lawsuit was immediately filed against the State of Texas by Raul Reyes, the mayor of El Cenizo, a town on the Texas-Mexico border. That lawsuit was later joined by the Cities of Austin, Dallas, Houston and El Paso and other other cities.
On Aug 31, 2017 – most of SB4 had been blocked from going into effect by U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia, a day before it was scheduled to go into effect.
SB4 Bill Summary
Relating to the enforcement by campus police departments and certain local governmental entities of state and federal laws governing immigration and to related duties and liability of certain persons in the criminal justice system; providing a civil penalty; creating a criminal offense.
What does Senate Bill 4 do, and what are the consequences for not following it?
The SB 4 goal is to eliminate Texas “sanctuary cities” by requiring local police and others officials to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. And the law allows police to inquire about the immigration status of people they lawfully detain. Under SB 4, local authorities are forbidden from adopting policies that prevent a peace officer from asking about a person’s immigration status.
Sheriffs, constables, police chiefs and other local leaders can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor — and possibly jail time — if they don’t cooperate with federal immigration authorities by honoring requests to hold inmates who are subject to deportation.
Officials also could face civil penalties for not implementing SB 4. The penalties range from $1,000 for a first offense; up to $25,500 for subsequent infractions. These penalties also apply to public colleges and universities.
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