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Federal judge temporarily blocks controversial Texas sanctuary bill

Posted at 9:56 PM, Aug 30, 2017

A federal judge in Texas late Wednesday temporarily blocked key provisions of a state law that banned sanctuary jurisdictions in the state.

The law was slated to go into effect on Friday.

The bill -- referred to as SB4 -- established civil penalties for local government and law enforcement officials who didn't comply with immigration laws and detention requests. Additionally, under the law, government entities would be fined $25,500 for every day the law was violated.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who signed the bill in May, said the judge's preliminary injunction would be appealed "immediately," and he is confident that the law will be upheld as constitutional.

"Today's decision makes Texas' communities less safe," Abbott said in a statement. "Because of this ruling, gang members and dangerous criminals, like those who have been released by the Travis County Sheriff, will be set free to prey upon our communities."

But critics of the bill have come out in support of the preliminary injunction.

ACLU, which issued a travel warning in the state after the law was signed, put out a statement from Lee Gelernt, the organization's deputy director of its Immigrants' Rights Project: "The court was right to strike down virtually all of this patently unconstitutional law. Senate Bill 4 would have led to rampant discrimination and made communities less safe. That's why police chiefs and mayors themselves were among its harshest critics -- they recognized it would harm, not help, their communities."

And Efrén C. Olivares, racial and economic justice program director with the Texas Civil Rights Project, said: "Today, Judge Orlando Garcia confirmed what we've known to be true all along: SB4 is unconstitutional, threatens public safety, and encourages racial profiling against Texans."