Latino leaders say sanctuary city fight is far from over

SMU Law Professor George Martinez talks about the Texas House voting to approve a bill to ban sanctuary cities.

By Mercedes Olivera

Wednesday felt like "a dark day in Texas."

That was the sentiment expressed by state Rep. Rafael Anchía of Dallas after the GOP-controlled state House voted to approve a bill to ban sanctuary cities.

A majority of Latino lawmakers opposed the bill. Many Latino community leaders say it will lead to racial profiling, and they compared it to Arizona's SB 1070, dubbed the "papers, please" law.

But the fight against it will continue, say Latino leaders and analysts.

The new policy would allow law enforcement officers to ask about a person's immigration status during any routine traffic stop or arrest. . . . 

In addition, a state district court ruled this week that President Donald Trump's sanctuary city ban is unconstitutional, and that will affect Texas, too, said George Martinez, a law professor at Southern Methodist University.

The ruling "is a nationwide temporary injunction that blocks any federal efforts via the executive order to attack sanctuary cities in Texas," he said by email.

Texas' SB4 is also unconstitutional, he said.

States are pre-empted by federal law in the area of immigration and are not permitted to conduct their own immigration policy, he said.

"The Supreme Court struck down most of the Arizona immigration law on this basis," he said.

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