Following a court ruling yesterday from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that his office is now enforcing Senate Bill 4 (SB 4), also known as the Texas sanctuary cities law. SB 4 protects Texans in two important ways. The law authorizes the attorney general to pursue civil penalties against or remove from office local entities and officials who adopt or enforce policies prohibiting the enforcement of federal immigration laws and detainers. The law also makes the refusal to comply with federal immigration detainers a misdemeanor.

A previous ruling from a federal district court enjoined the detainer provisions and several anti-sanctuary provisions of SB 4.  But yesterday, the 5th Circuit stayed the district court injunction as to some of the anti-sanctuary provisions and the detainer provisions (provided the federal government complies with its detainer policies).  The district court injunction remains effective only for limited purposes specifically for the phrases “materially limit” and “endorse” in SB 4, allowing the attorney general to enforce the remainder of the law.

“The 5th Circuit quickly confirmed what my office and I long maintained: Senate Bill 4 is a common sense measure that prevents governments in Texas from standing in the way of federal enforcement of immigration law,” Attorney General Paxton said. “By enforcing the key provisions of SB 4, we will prevent dangerous criminals from being released back into our Texas communities.”

SB 4 allows the attorney general to receive complaints from residents within the jurisdiction of a local entity (or that are enrolled or employed by an institution of higher education) regarding violations of the anti-sanctuary or detainer provisions. The complaints must include sworn statements asserting facts regarding the alleged violation.

View the attorney general’s website with instructions for filing a complaint here:

View the 5th Circuit ruling here: