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Sanctuary City Law Could End Up In Court

The passage of the so-called “Sanctuary Cities” bill goes against the advice of some law enforcement groups. The bill threatens police chiefs and sheriffs with jail time and removal from office if they refuse to honor federal immigration detainers.

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There are differences between the Texas bill and Arizona’s immigration crackdown in 2010, which required police to determine the immigration status of people during routine stops. The Texas bill doesn’t instruct officers to ask, but allows them to inquire whether a person is in the country legally.

“The last couple of legislative session, the police and the republicans haven’t always seen eye-to-eye. There were literally members of the law enforcement communities in various places all over the state imploring them not to pass this because it was so unpopular amongst the law enforcement community”, says Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston and co-host of Houston Public Media’s podcast Party Politics.

Courts blocked portions of Arizona law, including one that made it a crime not to carry immigration documents. That’s not in the Texas bill. But Rottinghaus says we can expect court challenges.

“My sense is that this will never see the light of day because it’ll be so tied up in the courts. To be honest, Texas is pretty used to going to court over these issues. The attorney general, certainly politically, is aligned more with the right wing of the republican party and definitely will challenge these, and has more experience doing so.”

Enforcement of the law also extends to college campuses. The law is set to take effect on September 1.

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