Federal appeals court upholds Texas law banning sanctuary cities

Federal appeals court upholds Texas law banning sanctuary cities

The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] on Tuesday upheld [text, PDF] a Texas law banning sanctuary cities.

The law, Senate Bill 4 (SB4) [text, PDF], “prohibits local authorities from limiting their cooperation with federal immigration enforcement, and it requires local officers to comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (‘ICE’) detainer requests.” The court held that the plaintiffs did not show they “are likely to succeed on the merits of any of their constitutional claims, except as to the enforcement” of SB4’s ‘endorse’ prohibition against elected officials.” Further, SB4 is not facially unconstitutional, and there is no merit for the remaining arguments.

The “endorse” prohibition “provides that a ‘local entity or campus police department’ may not ‘endorse a policy under which the entity or department prohibits or materially limits the enforcement of immigration laws.”” The court found this provision broadly and is not narrowly interpreted, stating: “The state cannot regulate the substance of elected officials’ speech under the First Amendment without passing the strict scrutiny test.” The plaintiffs further argued SB4 was preempted by federal law and it violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, but the court rejected these arguments.

The court affirmed a portion of the injunction and vacated the remaining portion of the district court’s ruling. The case was remanded to the lower court with instructions to dismiss the injunction.