Sunday, March 18News That Matters

Fifth Circuit upholds most of Texas' 'show me your papers' law as court battle continues

The conservative Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has allowed most of the provisions of Texas’ racist “show me your papers” law to go into effect while the case continues to play out in the court. Immigrant rights group America’s Voice notes that while the ”ruling did reiterate that the implementation of SB4 could expose local jurisdictions to constitutional violations,” it nevertheless remains a discriminatory law that attacks communities of color by allowing police to act as federal immigration agents and undermining the safety of Texans:

Police chiefs across Texas said the law will create a chilling effect that will cause immigrant families to not report crimes or come forward as witnesses over fears that talking to local police could lead to deportation. Critics also fear it will lead to the racial profiling of Hispanics and put officers in an untenable position.

The “ruling is disappointing but unsurprising,” said Mario Carrillo of America’s Voice Texas. “It is now more important than ever for city officials statewide to recommit to protecting immigrants and doing all in their power to ensure that our community does not become the target of terrorizing enforcement. Despite SB4 and this ruling, we must all further our work to ensure that Texas remains a welcoming to state to all, regardless of one’s immigration status.” Houston, Dallas, Austin, and the small town of El Cenizo were among the challengers to the law, which could reach all the way to the Supreme Court:

Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton praised the decision, saying in a statement: “Enforcing immigration law prevents the release of individuals from custody who have been charged with serious crimes.”

Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project and a lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said: “We are exploring all legal options going forward.”

Paxton, who probably coordinated with Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, is one to talk about enforcing the law and criminality. As immigrants have been deported after getting pulled over for the most minor of infractions like a broken taillight, the state attorney general faces three felony charges—including two charges of first-degree felony securities fraud—that could land him in prison for up to 99 years if found guilty.