Federal judge blocks ‘sanctuary cities’ bill SB4

Chase Karacostas

San Antonio federal court judge Orlando Garcia temporarily blocked Senate Bill 4, also known as the “sanctuary cities” ban.

The law, two days away from being implemented, has been subject to controversy across the nation as a growing number of cities have declared themselves “sanctuaries” and refused to work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

SB4 gives law enforcement officers the power to ask about a person’s immigration status during routine police functions, including traffic stops. The law also orders local law enforcement to comply with requests from federal immigration authorities such as ICE and places penalties on public officials who create policies obstructing it.

Several cities including San Antonio, Houston and the border town of El Cenizo have sued to block the law, arguing that it is broad and violates free speech by possibly preventing public officials from making statements against it.

A few weeks ago, Austin sued to have the law declared unconstitutional, but Austin federal District Court Judge Sam Sparks dismissed the case.