A federal judge late Wednesday temporarily blocked most of Texas' tough new "sanctuary cities" law that would have allowed police to inquire about people's immigration status during routine interactions such as traffic stops. The law, SB 4, had been cheered by President Trump's administration but decried by immigrants' rights groups who say it could force anyone who looks like they might be in the country illegally to "show papers," the AP reports. After the measure sailed through the Republican-controlled Legislature despite months of protests, opponents sued, arguing it violated the US Constitution. US District Judge Orlando Garcia's ruling in San Antonio keeps it from taking effect as planned Friday.
In a ruling that gives the case against the law time to proceed, Garcia wrote that there "is overwhelming evidence by local officials, including local law enforcement, that SB 4 will erode public trust and make many communities and neighborhoods less safe" and that "localities will suffer adverse economic consequences [that], in turn, will harm the state of Texas." "The Court cannot and does not second guess the Legislature," he wrote, but "the state may not exercise its authority in a manner" that violates the Constitution. The four largest cities in Texas—San Antonio, Austin, Houston, and Dallas—have joined the lawsuit, saying the law is vague and would have a chilling effect on immigrant communities. (Read more sanctuary cities stories.)