AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- A federal judge blocked enforcement of most of Texas' "sanctuary cities" law that allows police to ask immigration status.
U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia granted an injunction of Senate Bill 4 that was scheduled to go into effect Sept. 1. Opponents of the legislation, including the cities of Houston, Austin, San Antonio and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), argued the bill violates the Constitution.
San Antonio Mayor Ron Niremburg said in a tweet that the "injunction is a victory for our values & common sense." He added; "San Antonio is an inclusive, welcoming city where no resident should live in fear."
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner also wrote on social media: "Happy to learn a federal judge blocked the Texas law aimed at making local police immigration enforcers. Need them for fighting local crime."
The judge's decision means the bill is on hold for now until the law's constitutionality can be determined.
"This fight isn’t over, so we call upon all who have fought to stop this law not to let up until SB4 is well and truly dead," the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) tweeted.
Republican backers of the bill said it would help keep Texans safe from undocumented immigrants that have been arrested on criminal charges but released from custody by sheriffs or other elected officials who refuse to hold the alleged criminals for possible deportation.
SB 4 allows local law enforcement officers to question the immigration status of people they detain or arrest and seeks to punish local governments who don’t cooperate with federal immigration "detainers" — requests by agents to turn over immigrants subject to possible deportation.