A federal district judge temporarily blocked part of a Texas bill that would give police officers the authority to ask someone’s immigration status during a routine stop.
Senate Bill 4, blocked by U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia in a 94-page ruling, also threatened sheriffs with jail time if they did not comply with federal immigration authorities. Though SB 4 was praised by President Trump, local law enforcement believed that the bill would create an added difficulty to their jobs.
“[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,” Garcia said.
However, not all agree with Garcia’s decision.
“Today’s decision makes Texas’ communities less safe. Because of this ruling, gang members and dangerous criminals, like those who have been released by the Travis County Sheriff, will be set free to prey upon our communities,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott countered.
Police officers are still allowed to ask one’s immigration status during a legal detention. From there, local law enforcement has the option to report the immigration status to federal authorities, but cannot act any further on the information. Garcia explained in a footnote that SB 4 “gives local officers discretion to inquire and share information but it does not provide them with discretion to act upon the information that they may obtain.”