sanctuary cities

Immigration Battle Over Sanctuary Cities to be Played out in Texas

By Peek & Toland on January 16, 2017

An ongoing battle over sanctuary cities has been renewed in Texas with legislation that would force local law enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration rules.

A report on TWC News stated legislation was pre-filed in November in Austin. If successful, it will boost the role local law enforcement officers play in enforcing federal immigration laws.

Texas Republicans say cracking down on undocumented immigrants in Texas is key to enforcing President-elect Donald Trump’s new stance on immigration.

Battle over sanctuary cities to be played out in Texas

Sanctuary cities in Texas are under fire

Legislation on sanctuary cities has been filed by Senator Charles Perry who believes it would stop undocumented immigrants with a criminal past returning to the streets of the Lone Star State.

Sanctuary cities are places that offer some degree of protection to undocumented immigrants from federal crackdowns.

These shelter cities do not allow municipal funds or resources to be used to enforce federal immigration laws.

Often government employees in sanctuary cities are often instructed not to inquire about the immigration status or residents and told not to report undocumented workers.

The list changes but Austin, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Brownsville have been described as sanctuary cities.

Trump pledged to eliminate sanctuary cities during his successful election campaign.

Legislators Take Aim at Sanctuary Cities

Perry’s bill is similar to one he filed during the last session. He said he’s more optimistic he’ll be successful this time with a Republican president and the GOP in charge of both houses nationally. Perry said the electorate made it clear solving the “illegal immigration crisis” was a top priority.

The bill would require county jails across Texas to cooperate with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when the agency seeks to deport undocumented immigrants.

In Austin and, to some degree San Antonio, officers are barred from asking about a suspect’s immigration status when they make an arrest, reported TWC.

The scene is already set for in-fighting with state Democrats who claim the law would be discriminatory and have blocked efforts to end sanctuary cities in the past.

One of the most prominent critics of the bills, Senator Sylvia Garcia, claims the laws are discriminatory and would legitimize racial profiling. She believes it would prevent witnesses coming forward with information about crimes for fear of facing deportation.

Texas’ Lt. Governor Dan Patrick welcomed the quick filing of the legislation. He claimed cities that act as safe havens for undocumented immigrants are really creating a magnet for illegal immigration.

If you are an undocumented immigrant living in Texas you may have many concerns. For legal help, call Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Immigration, Immigration Reform

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Ruling that Local Jails Can’t Hold Criminal Immigrants May Affect ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Debate

By Peek & Toland on January 2, 2017

Criminal immigrants have been held in local jails for years. However, a recent decision by a federal judge in Illinois may undercut this federal tool to deal with immigrant offenders.

According to the Texas Tribune, a decision made by a federal judge in Illinois in September undercuts a major tool federal authorities use to deport criminal immigrants.

U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee ruled the Department of Homeland Security exceeds its legal authority when it makes requests for local jails to hold non-citizen inmates.

So-called detainers are used by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in cases where they believe someone being held on state or local charges may also be deportable for violating immigration law. After receiving a detainer, a local jail usually holds an inmate longer than it normally would. Typically, the inmate is held for 48 hours to give federal authorities time to get them.

local jails are barred from holding criminal immigrants

Ruling says local jails can’t hold criminal immigrants

How The Michigan Ruling Impacts the Holding of Criminal Immigrants

In his ruling, Lee said the detainers were “void.” He said the detainers issued under ICE’s detention program entail detaining subjects without a warrant before making a determination that the detainees are likely to escape before a warrant is sought.

The National Immigrant Justice Center said Lee’s decision applies to Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Wisconsin and detainers issued in about two dozen more states. The ruling’s impact could expand across the nation if upheld by appellate courts or if it spurs similar lawsuits elsewhere.

The ruling could be a boost to sanctuary cities, locations that shield undocumented immigrants from federal enforcement.

The case was brought by Jose Jimenez Moreno, an Illinois-based U.S. citizen, and Maria Jose Lopez, who is a lawful permanent resident living in Florida. They were being held on unrelated criminal charges when detainers were placed on them by ICE.

A spokesman for ICE in San Antonio told the Texas Tribune it is reviewing the court rulings to establish a course of action.

At Peek & Toland we are dedicated to helping those accused of being criminal immigrants who are facing possible immigration violations as well as offenses. We assist those facing deportation by taking cancellation of removal action. You can read more about it here.

If you need the help of an experienced Texas immigration lawyer, please call us today at v.


Posted in Criminal Defense, Immigration

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