window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);} gtag('js', new Date()); gtag('config', 'UA-29484371-30');
Thursday , October 18 2018
Home | Tag Archives: sb4

Tag Archives: sb4

Appeals Court Allows More of Texas “Sanctuary Cities” Law to go Into Effect

A panel of three appellate judges ruled on Monday that parts of the state’s immigration enforcement legislation, Senate Bill 4, can go into effect while the case plays out on appeal.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia halted the part of the bill that requires jail officials to honor all detainers. He also blocked other sections that prohibit local entities from pursuing “a pattern or practice that ‘materially limits’ the enforcement of immigration laws” and another that prohibits “assisting or cooperating” with federal immigration officers as reasonable or necessary.

While a hearing on the state’s appeal of that ruling is scheduled for Nov. 6, a panel of U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals judges ruled Monday that the detainer provision can stand for now. The panel ruled, however, that based on its interpretation of the law, the part that requires local jails to “comply with, honor and fulfill” detainers does not require detention based on every detainer issued.

“The ‘comply with, honor, and fulfill’ requirement does not require detention pursuant to every ICE detainer request,” the panel wrote. “Rather, the ‘comply with, honor, and fulfill’ provision mandates that local agencies cooperate according to existing ICE detainer practice and law.” The court also ruled that jails do not need to comply if a person under a detainer request provides proof of lawful presence.

The appellate court also ruled that local and college police officers with “authority that may impact immigration” cannot be prevented from assisting federal immigration officers. It said the state was likely to win those arguments during a subsequent hearing and argued the issue has already been settled in an earlier U.S. Supreme Court decision, Arizona v. United States.

But the 5th Circuit also said that portions of the measure that prevent “materially limiting” cooperation with immigration officials were too vague. The court held that the word “limit” could be too broadly interpreted and left a decision on that up to the subsequent panel.

The court offered a mixed ruling on another controversial item in the bill, a section of the law that prevents local governments from “adopting, enforcing or endorsing” policies that specifically prohibit or limit enforcement of immigration laws. The judges kept that injunction in place, but said it only applies to the word “endorse.” The bill, as passed and signed, would have made elected and appointed officials subject to a fine, jail time and possible removal from office for violating all or parts of the legislation. Opponents keyed in on the “endorsement” provision as something that would open up most officials to possible fines and jail time.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton praised the decision and said his office was confident the entire bill would subsequently be found constitutional.

“We are pleased today’s 5th Circuit ruling will allow Texas to strengthen public safety by implementing the key components of Senate Bill 4,” Paxton said in a statement. “Enforcing immigration law helps prevent dangerous criminals from being released into Texas communities.”

Democrats said the state was using delay tactics that would disenfranchise Texas’ minorities.

“Texans cannot wait nor afford another round of years-long litigation while this law tears families apart and sows distrust of and confusion among our law enforcement agencies,” said state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin. “If the court allows the state’s delay tactics to succeed, it will further normalize Texas Republicans’ dysfunctional one-party rule and condemn Texas Latinos to living under a cloud of uncertainty and fear.”

Read related Tribune coverage:

  • Here’s everything you need to know about Senate Bill 4, a controversial immigration enforcement measure banning “sanctuary cities” across Texas. [Full story]

Author:  JULIÁN AGUILAR – The Texas Tribune

City of El Paso joins MALDEF, Other Texas Cities in Suit Against SB 4

The City of El Paso will be joining a lawsuit against Senate Bill (SB 4), also known as the Sanctuary Cities Bill, along with San Antonio, Austin, and several non-profit organizations.

This lawsuit is with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) who is covering the expenses related to the suit. There will be no cost to El Paso tax payers.

Despite El Paso not being a sanctuary city, the City is concerned with provisions in SB 4 that raise questions related to the compliance and integration of the proposed bill in current law enforcement operations.

The City of El Paso is hopeful that the suit will prevent SB 4 from putting the responsibilities and duties of federal law enforcement agencies on the back of local law enforcement without training and clear guidance.

The unfunded mandate is expected to put additional strain on the El Paso Police Department, as SB 4 will add an extra requirement on the workforce that is already seeing a shortage in staff.

The City of El Paso has a long successful history of working alongside our federal law enforcement partners, to add additional mandates on local resources will only limit officers from performing their public safety responsibilities.

Advocates call for More “Sanctuary Congregations” Ahead of new Texas Law

Before Senate Bill 4, a far-reaching immigration law, goes into effect on Sept. 1, opponents are mobilizing across Texas, including those hoping to see more Texas churches offer “sanctuary” to the undocumented.

The backdrop for Rev. Noel Andersen’s sermon last week wasn’t a church dais but the gates of the Governor’s Mansion in Austin. The unusual setting didn’t stop him from preaching about his disappointment in Gov. Greg Abbott for signing one of the most aggressive state-based immigration laws in the country the night before.

“Somebody told me once that the Bible was important here,” Andersen said, ginning up an already fiery crowd of opponents that have, since January, railed against Senate Bill 4.

Andersen is from Washington, D.C., where his nonprofit, Church World Service, is based. But he said he expects to spend much of the summer in Texas, working to reignite a movement of churches offering “sanctuary” to the undocumented, an effort that has taken on a new urgency since Abbott signed SB 4, which goes into effect Sept. 1.

“We do expect to see a greater need now as immigrants are being more targeted through SB 4 and through President Trump’s policies,” Andersen said. “[The goal is] helping stop a deportation order and creating space to create a legal campaign to be able to stop that deportation and keep those people with their families.”

The bill allows peace officers to question the immigration status of people they legally detain or arrest. It also punishes department heads and elected officials who don’t cooperate with federal immigration agents. The governor and other supporters of the bill insist it’s needed to deter people who are already in the country illegally from committing more crimes.

But law enforcement agencies and faith-based organizations argue the law opens up the state to legalized racial profiling and threatens to undermine the trust immigrants place in local police officers. Some religious groups argue that those concerns have been largely ignored by Texas Republican leaders that have supported the bill. The governor’s office did not respond to an email requesting comment for this story.

But Andersen said there is a silver lining if the new law draws more attention to the decades-long practice of recognizing churches and other buildings as “sensitive locations” when it comes to immigration enforcement.

“Sanctuary congregations are committed to opening their congregations to undocumented people who are in need,” Andersen said. “Oftentimes, that includes someone facing a deportation order or an imminent deportation.”

Andersen’s effort is just one example of how opponents of SB 4 are expected to mobilize over the summer across Texas ahead of the bill’s Sept. 1 implementation date. Last week, the League of United Latin American Citizens, Maverick County and the city of El Cenizo sued Texas over the bill. More lawsuits are expected.

Faith-based groups have the wind at their backs in one respect: Immigration and Customs Enforcement have long recognized churches and other buildings as generally off limits, except under extreme circumstances.

“The policies provide that enforcement actions at or focused on sensitive locations such as schools, places of worship, and hospitals should generally be avoided, and that such actions may only take place when (a) prior approval is obtained from an appropriate supervisory official, or (b) there are exigent circumstances necessitating immediate action without supervisor approval,” an ICE memo states.

The “sensitive locations” policy predates Trump, but Andersen said he hasn’t heard the administration has plans to change it. In a memo released in March, the Department of Homeland Security confirmed the policy was still in effect.

“They could rescind that, but we believe even without that policy … there is a certain symbolic protection that congregations and places of worship have,” he said.

The movement has been around since the 1980s, when a wave of Central American immigrants came to the United States seeking refuge. After a meeting between Presbyterians and a Quakers in Arizona, the two networks joined forces and began offering safe haven to Nicaraguans and El Salvadorans, according to the Migration Policy Institute. The movement eventually spread to Illinois, northern California and South Texas.

The movement has experienced a resurgence in the country since 2014 that included an Austin case involving a Central American undocumented immigrant. In June 2015, Sulma Franco, a gay woman from Guatemala, was taken in by the staff of First Unitarian Universalist Church after receiving a final deportation order. She said her sexual orientation made her a target in the violent Central American country and refused to report to ICE. The agency eventually relented, and Franco was granted a stay two months later.

To be sure, not all faith-based groups view themselves as sanctuary congregations, but some have a history of aiding undocumented people in other ways.

“Texas Baptist Convention has an immigration service center in San Antonio, but it doesn’t house anyone,” said Dr. Gus Reyes, the director of the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission. “But anyone who is here and has any possibility of receiving legal status or going from a green card visa to becoming a U.S. citizen, we try to help those folks.”

Last week, Andersen expressed hope that Austin would set the example and spread the sanctuary message across the state.

“We have a strong movement in Austin, and we have dedicated faith leaders that work with immigrants and refugees throughout Texas,” he said.

Read related coverage:

Author:  JULIÁN AGUILAR – The Texas Tribune

ACLU issues Texas “Travel Advisory” After Governor Signs “Sanctuary” Bill

One of the country’s largest civil rights groups is cautioning against traveling to Texas after Gov. Greg Abbott signed what critics have called the most extreme state-based immigration bill in history.

Though the bill, Senate Bill 4, doesn’t take effect until Sept. 1, the American Civil Liberties Union said in its announcement that it “is concerned that some law enforcement officers may begin to treat residents and travelers unfairly now.”

The bill allows peace officers to question the immigration status of people they legally detain or arrest, and also punishes department heads and elected officials who don’t cooperate with federal immigration agents. Abbott and other supporters of the bill insist it’s needed to enforce the rule of law and deter people who are already in the country illegally from committing more crimes.

Many law enforcement agencies and faith-based organizations have said the law opens up the state to legalized racial profiling and could place U.S. citizens in the crosshairs of local police who want to enforce immigration law.

“The ACLU’s goal is to protect all Texans and all people traveling through Texas — regardless of their immigration status — from illegal harassment by law enforcement,” Lorella Praeli, the ACLU’s director of immigration policy and campaigns said in a statement. “Texas is a state with deep Mexican roots and home to immigrants from all walks of life. Many of us fit the racial profile that the police in Texas will use to enforce Trump’s draconian deportation force.”

Between 2008 and 2012, the ACLU said, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement requested local jails to hold 834 U.S. citizens, including some who spent additional days in jail because of the error.

After the national civil rights organization issued its travel advisory Tuesday morning, a state business group said they feared it could be the first of more sustained warnings — or even boycotts — that could adversely affect the state’s economy.

“I think what this bill brings with it is the perception that Texas’s welcome mat comes with qualifiers,” said Cathy Stoebner DeWitt, vice president of governmental affairs for the Texas Association of Business. “And businesses looking to come to Texas look at things like that. So it causes us great concern.”

The ACLU said more than a dozen of its state affiliates have issued their own travel advisories against Texas including California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Disclosure: The Texas Association of Business has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Author:  JULIÁN AGUILAR – The Texas Tribune

State Senator Rodriguez: SB4 ‘Harms public safety, violates due process, diminishes Texas’

Austin – Senator José Rodríguez, Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus, released the following statement regarding SB 4:

For years, whether out of sincere or cynical motives, politicians have conflated immigrants and crime, and have denigrated our border communities as unsafe and out of control. The facts do not bear this out. SB 4 is the culmination of growing anti-immigrant sentiment that emerged fully in the last presidential campaign and has taken root in Texas.

SB 4 was bad when it left the Senate, and did not get better in the House. Texas has completed its transition from the state that welcomed free trade and embraced Mexican and other immigrants only a generation ago into one that disguises discrimination as security.

How else do you explain it when your top law enforcement officials tell you that a proposal will make communities less safe, as they overwhelmingly did during the debate over SB 4, and yet you persist in passing the bill and saying it’s about public safety?

Among other things, SB 4 allows local police to make instant decisions about complex federal immigration law, which is a recipe for discriminatory constitutional violations.

Some facts about SB 4:

  • Texas cannot eliminate Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure:

o   An ICE request to county jails to detain a person must be based on probable cause that the person is violating immigration law.

o   But these detainers are not issued by an independent judge who reviews them for probable cause. They are issued by immigration officers.

o   Federal courts in other jurisdictions have already held that a county’s compliance with voluntary immigration detainers violate the Fourth and Fifth Amendments.

  • SB4 coerces local governments and higher education institutions:

o   Creates a separate criminal offense under state law for failure to comply with the bill, making local officials personally liable for performance of each and every law officer working in their jurisdiction.

o   Subjects local entities to Attorney General lawsuits originating from public complaints that may have no merit, eroding community relations and creating unnecessary expense.

o   Singles out the enforcement authority of University Campus police to target students that may be DREAMers or DACA recipients.

  • El Paso County is under a settlement entered in federal court in 2006 that prohibits the county from enforcing civil immigration law. The settlement resulted from traffic checkpoints set up by the El Paso Sheriff’s Department in which it was alleged deputies conducted unlawful searches, seizures and detentions. SB 4 is virtually certain to result in a costly lawsuit for El Paso County, which must choose between a federal settlement agreement and compliance with this new state law.

“Sanctuary Cities” Bill Clears Latest Hurdle, Heads to Abbott for Signature

The Texas Senate on Wednesday voted 20-11 to accept the House’s version of Senate bill 4, legislation that would ban “sanctuary” jurisdictions in Texas and allow police to inquire about the immigration status of people they lawfully detain.

The bill now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott, who declared the legislation an “emergency item” in the early days of the legislative session, and is widely expected to sign it.

The legislation makes sheriffs, constables, police chiefs and other local leaders subject to a Class A misdemeanor if they don’t cooperate with federal authorities and honor requests from immigration agents to hold noncitizen inmates subject to deportation. It also provides civil penalties for entities in violation of the provision that begin at $1,000 for a first offense and climb to as high as $25,500 for each subsequent infraction. The bill also applies to public colleges.

But the final version also includes a controversial House amendment that allows police officers to question a person’s immigration status during a detainment, as opposed to being limited to a lawful arrest. Democrats and immigrant rights groups argue this makes the bill “show-me-your-papers”-type legislation that will allow police to inquire about a person’s immigration status during the most routine exchanges, including traffic stops.

Before Wednesday’s vote, some lawmakers were still hopeful the bill would go to a conference committee where lawmakers from both chambers could strip the amendment from the bill. But during a floor debate Wednesday before the measure was approved by the Senate, the bill’s author, state Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, said that the bill doesn’t require that officers ask a person’s immigration status. However the language does leave the door wide open for officers to make such inquiries if they feel the need during routine stops.

“We certainly don’t want ‘walking while brown’ to lead to reasonable suspicion,” said state Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston. “It will happen. And in some parts of my district, it already is happening.”

Sen. Sylvia Garcia D-Houston  looks on as Se. Jose Menendez D-San Antonio ask questions to author of SB4, Sen. Charles Perry R-Lubbock as the  bill is heard again in the Senate after changes made by the House.  May 3, 2017
Sen. Sylvia Garcia D-Houston looks on as Se. Jose Menendez D-San Antonio ask questions to author of SB4, Sen. Charles Perry R-Lubbock as the bill is heard again in the Senate after changes made by the House. May 3, 2017

The amendment to allow local police to ask about immigration status during a detainment was added during a 16-hour House debate by Tyler Republican Matt Schaefer, who told the Tribune last week that he had been willing to pull the proposal if Democrats had agreed to limit the debate of the bill on the House floor. But whatever deal was allegedly in the works fell through and Democrats could only sit and watch as the amped up version of the bill passed the lower chamber.

Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick have said the bill is about rule of law and making sure that criminals who are also in the country illegally should be deported before they are able to commit more crimes in this country.

Patrick praised the Senate’s move late Wednesday in a news release, saying, “I have been working to end sanctuary cities in Texas since my days as a state senator. This legislation will eliminate a substantial incentive for illegal immigration and help make Texas communities safer.”

But several law enforcement leaders have said the bill will erode the public’s trust.

“Officers would start inquiring about the immigration status of every person they come in contact with, or worse, inquire about the immigration status of people based on their appearance,” David Pughes, the interim chief of police for Dallas and Art Acevedo, chief of police for Houston, wrote in an op-ed for the Dallas Morning News last week. “This will lead to distrust of police and less cooperation from members of the community. And it will foster the belief that people cannot seek assistance from police for fear of being subjected to an immigration status investigation.”

Abbott’s signature on the bill will cap his quest to ban “sanctuary” cities that made national headlines after Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez announced in January she would limit her jail’s cooperation with Immigration and Customs and Enforcement. Hernandez later amended her policy but not before Abbott withheld state grant funds from the county.

It’s unclear however, if Abbott’s signature on the bill will be the end of the conversation. Several lawmakers have said a lawsuit to stop the implementation of SB 4 is very likely and cite several reasons, including legal questions surrounding the federal preemption of immigration laws and whether ICE detainers are voluntary.

Before the final vote, Perry seemed to acknowledge as much.

“We will let the court systems figure this out,” he told state Sen. Jose Menendez during a lengthy back-and-forth about probable cause.

Read related coverage:

Author:  JULIÁN AGUILAR – The Texas Tribune

HOPE Statement: SB4 Threatens Border Communities

Today’s actions by the Texas House of Representatives to advance SB4 have injected renewed fear into local Texas communities and should serve as a wakeup call for all Americans. SB4 represents an extreme example of “Show Me Your Papers” legislation that targets migrants, families and local communities by deputizing local law enforcement to feed an immoral deportation and immigrant detention machine.

SB4 will not make Texas or the border safer. Playing politics and coercing local police to serve as immigration enforcement officers is a direct threat to the community-based policing efforts that are vital to public safety in Texas neighborhoods. Trust between local law enforcement officers and the community is critical.

unnamed (51)When the community can count on law enforcement without the fear of being detained, deported and separated from families, we are all safer. We need to support local law enforcement agencies in their efforts to ensure community safety and protect us all from violence and danger, regardless of immigration status.

We cannot allow today’s actions to tempt us to despair and inaction. In the face efforts to divide us, we must work for a greater solidarity capable of building bridges and overcoming fear.

In the face of actions to criminalize migrants and militarize our communities, we must work for a revolution of tenderness and a country where the human dignity of all, documented and undocumented, is respected and promoted.

***

Hope Border Institute (HBI) is an independent grassroots community organization working in the El Paso-Ciudad Juárez-Las Cruces region, that seeks to bring the perspective of Catholic social teaching to bear on the social realities unique to our region. Through a robust program of research, reflection, leadership development, advocacy and action, HBI develops and aligns the border’s community leaders engaged in the work of justice from across the Mexico-US border to deepen solidarity across borders and transform our region.

Rep. Lina Ortega’s Statement on House Passage of Anti-Immigrant Legislation

AUSTIN – After a debate that stretched into the early morning hours, the Texas House passed the so-called “sanctuary cities” bill on a party-line vote this afternoon. State Representative Lina Ortega issued the following statement:

“SB 4 is discriminatory legislation that will further marginalize our immigrant communities and place an undue burden on local law enforcement,” Rep. Ortega said.

Recent court rulings on redistricting and voter ID have found that the Texas Legislature has intentionally discriminated against Hispanics and African Americans. SB 4 follows this pattern of discriminatory intent and opens the door to further racial profiling of minorities. SB 4 now moves to the Senate for approval or appointment of a conference committee.

 

MARCHFEST 728X90