The state of Texas tried to enforce Trumpist treatment of citizens and others by cities refusing to enforce federal rules about immigration. The cities rebelled at a proposed new law and sued. They won an injunction preventing enforcement tomorrow.
The legal arguments were diverse from punishment for free speech to division of powers. The court agreed with many arguments of the plaintiffs.
“Plaintiffs assert, inter alia, that SB 4, on its face and as applied, is preempted by federal law and violates the Supremacy Clause, the First Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, the Fourth Amendment, the Ninth Amendment, and the Tenth Amendment. They also assert that SB 4 violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and the Texas Constitution’s separation of powers, due course of law, freedom of speech, and home rule provisions. Because SB 4 does not take effect until September 1, 2017, the Court has limited its analysis to those claims that may be construed as facial challenges. There are numerous claims that the Court does not address, either because it is unnecessary to reach them or because they are “as applied” challenges. The Court’s findings herein are preliminary, based on the “likelihood of success” standard, and may be revised at the merits stage of the litigation.
Thus, the Court finds merit in Plaintiffs’ argument that States should not be able to exempt themselves from the exacting requirements of 8 U.S.C. § 1357(g) by creating State regulation that circumvents such requirements. The Court further finds, after examining the federal statute as a whole and identifying its purpose and intended effects, that Plaintiffs have shown a likelihood that the federal interest in the field of immigration enforcement is so dominant that it may preclude enforcement of state laws on this subject and Tex. Gov’t Code § 752.053(b)(3) is likely to be field preempted.
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.
On February 2, 2017, when SB 4 was being considered in the Senate, eight witnesses showed up to support SB 4 and over 1,600 witnesses showed up to oppose it. Docket no. 77, exhibit 1 -D. The named plaintiffs in this lawsuit include five of the six largest cities in the State of Texas Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, and El Paso and their cumulative population exceeds six million people. This is representative of the public opposition to SB 4 and the overwhelming public concern about its detrimental effect. The public interest in protecting constitutional rights, maintaining trust in local law enforcement, and avoiding the heavy burdens that SB 4 imposes on local entities will be served by enjoining those portions of SB 4 that the Court has preliminarily determined are preempted or are constitutionally invalid on their face.”