WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal court Wednesday night temporarily blocked key provisions of Texas Senate Bill 4 (SB 4), a law that attempted to require local law enforcement in the state to carry out certain immigration enforcement activities.
The court’s preliminary injunction enjoined most of the bill two days before its scheduled implementation, indicating that the court is likely to hold that the provisions in question are unconstitutional. Texas Governor Greg Abbott said he will appeal the ruling immediately.
The legislation would force local jurisdictions to dedicate their resources to perform immigration enforcement activities that are the federal government’s responsibility. Local officials argue that it would interfere with their jurisdictions’ ability to maintain policies that promote trust between law enforcement and the communities they police.
State and local law enforcement have continued to speak out about how SB 4 would hamper community safety.
In an April Austin American-Statesman op-ed, Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez, Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar and El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles wrote about the burdens SB 4 would place on local law enforcement and the communities they serve.
“SB 4 would coerce local law enforcement to dedicate frequently scarce resources — such as jail space, on-duty officers and local tax dollars — to a job that is supposed to be done and funded by the federal government,” they wrote. “While it is in the interest of federal agencies to let local law enforcement do its job, the costs will be entirely passed onto you, the local taxpayers.”
“The decision to block most of SB 4 is a win for public safety in Texas,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “Immigrants will be able to trust that they can report crimes without fear. Local law enforcement can focus their time and resources on actual threats to community safety. As a result, all Texans are safer.”