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Plaintiffs Attorneys Say Court Order Limits Enforcement Of Sanctuary Cities Ban

Joey Palacios | Texas Public Radio

Plaintiffs’ attorneys challenging the constitutionality of SB 4, the State’s sanctuary cities ban, say the recent court ruling does very little to change how immigration inquires and detainer requests are being handled by local police and sheriffs.  

A panel of judges at the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld portions of San Antonio US District Judge Orlando Garcia’s injunction, while allowing other sections of the law to exist, but in a limited capacity.  

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund or MALDEF’s Nina Perales is a plaintiffs attorney representing Bexar County and the Cities of San Antonio and El Paso.

Credit Ryan Poppe
Nina Perales, VP of General Counsel for MALDEF

“SB4 mandated compliance by local jurisdiction with every single detainer no matter what.  The 5th Circuit has let this provision into effect but given the localities the discretion to evaluate the detainers on a case by case basis.  So if honoring a detainer is going to violate someone’s civil right then the jurisdiction can decline," Perales explains.

Perales says the 5th Circuit’s ruling also allows local police to question someone about their immigration status, but the court said local officials could provide guidance on when to ask based on department resources.

Perales says the law has been trimmed back and limited in a way that makes it very unlikely that the state will be able to impose fines or remove local elected officials from office for not adhering to the original provisions.  

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.