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Federal judge dismisses case over Texas anti-sanctuary city legislation

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Western District of Texas [official website] on Wednesday dismissed [order, PDF] a case concerning Senate Bill 4 [text, PDF], a bill intended to penalize so-called "sanctuary cities." The action was filled by the state of Texas seeking to have SB 4 declared constitutional before the bill was scheduled to take effect. The law would require local law enforcement agencies to cooperate with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and prohibit local agencies from enforcing policies that bar officers from inquiring as to an individual's immigration status. The court found that there was no "justiciable injury" to Texas as there was not yet a challenge to the bill's constitutionality. Without a requisite injury, the court held that it must dismiss the matter as moot.

The existence and functioning of sanctuary cities have come under fire since the first week of President Donald Trump's administration. From the beginning of the year, some states and cities have proposed legislation to crackdown on sanctuary policies while some cities continue to stand behind their policies [JURIST op-ed]. In June the California State Assembly passed two bills which, if passed by the senate, will strengthen protections for undocumented immigrant students in public schools from kindergarten through college by preventing Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers from entering a school site without a valid judicial warrant [JURIST report] and approval from the superintendent. In May Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law the bill banning sanctuary cities [JURIST report] in the state. In March the Mississippi Senate approved a bill [JURIST report] to prohibit local sanctuary immigration policies. In February the Alabama House approved [JURIST report] a bill to block funding for sanctuary universities. In the same month, Texas Senate approved a bill targeting sanctuary cities [JURIST report] by requiring them to comply with federal immigration law. Earlier in February San Francisco similarly filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over an executive order that would cut federal funding [JURIST report] from sanctuary cities, including San Francisco.

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