The controversial new Texas law punishes government officials who don’t cooperate with federal “detainer” requests to turn over immigrants subject to possible deportation.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that most of the Texas’ immigration enforcement legislation can remain in effect while the case plays out, handing a victory to Gov. Greg Abbott and Republican supporters of the law, the Texas Tribune reports. The measure allows local law enforcement officers to question the immigration status of people they detain or arrest and punishes local government department heads and elected officials who don’t cooperate with federal “detainers” — requests by agents to turn over immigrants subject to possible deportation — in the form of jail time and penalties that exceed $25,000.
The one part of the law still on hold is a provision that punishes local officials 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 law 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. “The court made clear that we remain free to challenge the manner in which the law is implemented, so we will be monitoring the situation on the ground closely,” said Lee Gelernt of the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants’ Rights Project.