Texas Law Banning Sanctuary Cities Suffers Its First Legal Defeat


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A federal judge in Texas has thrown out a lawsuit from the state’s attorney general Ken Paxton against the city of Austin and Travis County, in the first legal defeat of the state’s new law outlawing municipalities that shield undocumented immigrants from federal officials.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks dismissed the suit, saying Paxton can’t sue over a law that hasn’t even taken effect yet, the Austin American-Statesman reported on Wednesday night.

“Because SB 4 does not take effect until September 1, 2017, it is impossible for defendants to take any action that would violate the not-yet-effective law,” Sparks’ ruling read. “The mere fact that a municipal policy was instituted before a law was signed, or that it remains in place prior to the law taking effect, does not equate to a violation of the law.”

Paxton filed the pre-emptive legal strike shortly after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who’s made cracking down on sanctuary cities a top priority, signed Senate Bill 4 in May after designating it an “emergency” item to keep Texans safe from the fake scourge of violent undocumented immigrants.

The battle over the anti-immigrant law is far from over, and its opponents now face another lawsuit over the bill in San Antonio. But immigrant groups were hailing it as what’s hopefully the first step toward eventually invalidating the law.


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