Sanctuary Cities

Lotus Carroll

In a setback for the state in its first enforcement action under a controversial, anti-“sanctuary cities” law passed in 2017, a district judge in Travis County has dismissed several of the Texas Attorney General’s Office’s claims against the city of San Antonio, which the state claimed had “materially limited” the enforcement of immigration laws.

Nathan Bernier / KUT

The Austin Police Department released information to federal immigration officers 581 times in 2018 and asked one detained person about their immigration status, according to a report from Austin Police Chief Brian Manley.

Oregon's sanctuary law is one of the oldest in the country. It was signed into law in July 1987 — more than 31 years ago.

"Both Republicans and Democrats voted for the bill," says Rocky Barilla, the Democrat and former state representative behind the law. "It was really not controversial."

But half the state's sheriffs — largely from more conservative, rural parts of the state — want to do away with the law.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard.

The Austin City Council will vote this Thursday on a package of proposals designed to make the capital city Texas’ first “freedom city.”

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Travis County Jail saw a drastic reduction in the number of undocumented immigrants it transferred into Immigrations Customs Enforcement custody in the first part of 2017, according to a new study.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

A panel of three appellate judges ruled Tuesday that most of the state’s immigration enforcement legislation, Senate Bill 4, can remain in effect while the case plays out, handing a victory to Gov. Greg Abbott and Republican supporters of the legislation.

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From Texas Standard:

Several Democratic mayors, in Washington D.C. for the annual Conference of Mayors, chose to boycott a meeting with President Donald Trump, who invited the mayors to visit the White House Wednesday. They objected to letters sent to 23 cities by the Department of Justice, threatening funding cuts if communities acted as so-called "sanctuary cities."

Andrew Weber / KUT

As the year comes to a close, we're looking back at the stories that defined 2017.

In the Texas Legislature, there were fights: over the so-called bathroom bill and sanctuary city policies. At City Hall, there were more fights: over CodeNEXT and the latest police contract. And on the streets, there were even more fights: over an unorthodox new president and women's rights, ICE raids and immigration policies, and Confederate statues and symbols.

Austin Price for KUT

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday commended Texas lawmakers for taking a "leadership role" in fighting jurisdictions that oppose President Donald Trump's immigration policies.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Students at a parenting class had trouble focusing the day after a court ruling on Senate Bill 4, Texas' "sanctuary cities" law.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Travis County Sheriff's Office will honor all federal immigration detainer requests following a federal court ruling that held parts of Texas' "sanctuary cities" law can go into effect.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

A federal court in San Antonio has blocked much of Senate Bill 4, Texas' so-called "sanctuary cities" law.

"The best interests of the public will be served by preserving the status quo and enjoining, prior to September 1, the implementation and enforcement of those portions of SB 4 that, on their face, are preempted by federal law and violate the United States Constitution," U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia said.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Candelario Vazquez, 34, stands in front of a group of 20 people. None of the adults and children, some of them squirming in their hard plastic chairs, have asked to be in the audience.

Julian Aguilar

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks on Wednesday dismissed the state of Texas’ lawsuit against Travis County and other defendants over the state's new immigration enforcement law.

Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing back against the federal government.

On Monday, the city is filing suit against the Department of Justice, which announced it would withhold millions of dollars in police grant money from so-called sanctuary cities.

Emanuel is suing because he says new rules for a federal crime-fighting grant go against the Constitution and the city's values.

"Chicago will not let our police officers become political pawns in a debate," Emanuel said.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The colorful scene melded two time-honored Texas traditions: political protest and the quinceañera.

With skirts flouncing, 15 young women ascended the steps of the Texas state Capitol on Wednesday morning to a traditional Mexican birthday song played in a mariachi style.

Christopher Rose

The city of El Paso voted on Tuesday to join the growing list of local governments that have filed a legal challenge in hopes of stopping Texas’ new immigration enforcement law from going into effect.

Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio

A federal judge in San Antonio is hearing arguments today in a lawsuit filed by several cities, including Austin, seeking to block enforcement of the state's new anti-sanctuary cities law, Senate Bill 4. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The federal government has officially thrown its support behind Texas' so-called sanctuary cities ban.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a statement of interest in federal court Friday in the case brought by several cities, including Austin, that seeks to block enforcement of Senate Bill 4.

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Making a list of the best and worst lawmakers after each Texas legislative session isn't quite as old as the Legislature itself, but it's still a time-honored tradition. Texas Monthly has put out such a list since 1973, and each one is an occasion awaited with bated breath by political observers, legislative aides and of course, the lawmakers themselves.

Erika Rich for the Texas Tribune

As several Texas communities have signed on to a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s new immigration enforcement law, some are putting pressure on their local leaders to hurry up and join in.

The City of Austin filed a motion in federal court Monday, seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent the enforcement of Senate Bill 4, the state's new law barring so-called sanctuary cities.

Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

From Texas Standard:

Have you voted yet? We're looking at you Pasadena, and you, El Paso, and you, too, San Antonio. Tomorrow there are runoff elections in all three cities. And in each city, the top job in city government is at stake.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

SXSW CEO and co-founder Roland Swenson says moving the festival out of Texas would not be a solution to protest Senate Bill 4, the state's new "sanctuary cities" law.

"Austin is our home and an integral part of who we are," Swenson said in response to a call from two U.S. senators for the festival to move. "We stand by the City of Austin in their challenge against SB4 and will continue to speak out against it, and all discriminatory legislation."

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The City of Austin has filed a legal challenge to the state's new "sanctuary city" law, joining a suit filed Thursday by the City of San Antonio.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Drunken driving. Property theft. Possession of a controlled substance.

These are some of the crimes for which the Travis County Sheriff’s Office did not honor requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain suspected undocumented immigrants past their sentences or dispositions.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

At the start of the Texas legislative session, you might have characterized the number of bills reversing City of Austin regulations as an onslaught. There were bills to undo the city’s "ban the box" rule, its plastic bag ban, the city’s ride-hailing regulations.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Hundreds of protesters in red T-shirts gathered at the Capitol on Monday to protest passage of Senate Bill 4, the "sanctuary cities" law. As they were chanting their opposition to the law, a state representative said he called federal immigration agents, leading to a scuffle between lawmakers.

Julian Aguilar/The Texas Tribune

The normally ceremonial last day of the legislative session briefly descended into chaos on Monday, as proceedings in the House were disrupted by large protests and at least one Republican lawmaker called immigration authorities on the protesters.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The City of Austin has asked a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Ken Paxton, which preemptively seeks to have the state's new "sanctuary cities" law deemed constitutional.

The motion, filed Wednesday, argues the state cannot sue because Senate Bill 4 is not in effect yet, so Texas has not been harmed. 

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