In May 2017, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law bill SB4, which denied state funding to sanctuary cities.

We wrote at the time:

Senate Bill 4 requires state law enforcement, including campus cops, to comply with federal immigration law and prohibits municipalities from creating policies or regulations that circumvent established federal laws. The bill specifically prohibits discrimination and allows the state to levy civil penalties on non-compliant entities.

After the House approved changes made in the Senate, Senate Bill 4 heads to Governor Abbott’s desk.

“Banning sanctuary cities is about stopping officials who have sworn to enforce the law from helping people who commit terrible crimes evade immigration detainers. Senate Bill 4 protects all Texans though uniform application of the law without prejudice,” said state Sen. Perry.

In August 2017, a federal judge in Texas issued an injunction halting the law.

The 5th Circuit issued a stay of the injunction, pending a decision on the merits. That decision was just handed down, and the law was almost completely reinstated. Politico reports:

A federal appeals court on Tuesday formally overturned nearly all of an injunction that a U.S. District Court judge issued last year against a Texas immigration law aimed at blocking local governments in the state from adopting so-called sanctuary policies.

The ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was not a surprise, because that court issued a stay last September allowing the bulk of the Texas law, known as Senate Bill 4, to take effect. However, the decisions came from two separate three-judge panels of the appeals court.

The new decision largely tracked with the earlier stay, finding legally problematic only one part of the Texas law that prohibited local officials from taking any steps to “endorse” a sanctuary policy.

The 5th Circuit decision (pdf.) is embedded in full at the bottom of this post. The Court found no likelihood that the plaintiffs would ultimately succeed on the merits of the case:

The plaintiffs have not made a showing that they are likely to succeed on the merits of any of their constitutional claims except as to the enforcement of Tex. Gov’t Code § 752.053(a)(1)’s “endorse” provision against elected officials. The foregoing discussion demonstrates there is no merit in their remaining arguments, and none of the other challenged provisions of SB4 facially violate the Constitution.

The Statesman reports on the reactions:

Attorney General Ken Paxton cheered the ruling.

“I’m pleased the 5th Circuit recognized that Senate Bill 4 is lawful, constitutional and protects the safety of law enforcement officers and all Texans,” Paxton said. “Enforcing immigration law prevents the release of individuals from custody who have been charged with serious crimes. Dangerous criminals shouldn’t be allowed back into our communities to possibly commit more crimes.”


Texas SB4 Sanctuary Cities Case – 5th Circuit Order Reinstating Law 3-13-2018 by Legal Insurrection on Scribd