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US court upholds most of Texas law to punish ‘sanctuary cities’

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A U.S. appeals court panel on Tuesday upheld most of a Republican-backed Texas law to punish “sanctuary cities,” allowing it to remain in effect while the case is being fought in a lower court.

The law was the first of its kind since Republican Donald Trump became president in January 2017, promising to crack down on illegal immigration and communities that protect the immigrants.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down one provision in the law enacted by the most-populous Republican-led state to punish local officials who endorse policies running contrary to the law.

Plaintiffs including the cities of Houston, Dallas and Austin said the provision would allow the state to remove duly elected officials if they criticized the measure, a violation of constitutional free-speech protections.

The law, known as Senate Bill 4, calls for jail for police chiefs, sheriffs and possibly frontline officers who fail to cooperate over U.S. immigration. It also allows police to ask about immigration status during a lawful detention, such as traffic stops.

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Lawyers for Texas said the law helped ensure conformity across the state on the application of immigration law and prevented localities from adopting positions of non-cooperation with federal authorities.

Plaintiffs contend the law could lead to racial profiling and divert resources from local police, who would be under the threat of job loss and fines if they do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

So-called sanctuary cities often do not use municipal funds or resources to enforce federal immigration laws. Sanctuary supporters say enlisting police in deportation actions undermines community trust in local law enforcement, particularly among Latinos.

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Texas Republican leaders have not identified any sanctuary cities in the state. The major cities that were plaintiffs in the suit said they had been abiding by all legal U.S. detainer requests.

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.”
In August 2017, Chief U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia in San Antonio found the legislation was unlikely to withstand constitutional scrutiny and blocked sections of the law just days before it was to take effect. The case then went to the 5th Circuit.

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Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Peter Cooney


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Lawrence O’Donnell reports on the growing movement for the impeachment of President Donald Trump

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Anchor Lawrence O'Donnell reported on the growing movement for the impeachment of President Donald Trump during Thursday evening's "The Last Word" on MSNBC.

"The House of Representatives conducted a symbolic vote on a hastily written impeachment resolution by Democratic Congressman Al Green in reaction to the president’s tweeted comments that the House of Representatives voted to condemn as racist," O'Donnell reported. "The impeachment resolution had nothing to do with the [Robert] Mueller investigation and referred only to the president being unfit for office because of the language that he has used recently about members of Congress and immigrants and asylum seekers."

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Video proves how far the Trump’s GOP has gone from the era of Ronald Reagan and HW Bush

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The immigration policies of Donald Trump’s presidency would have no room for his GOP predecessors Ronald Reagan or George H.W. Bush—who both embraced work visas, family unification, easy border crossings and a better relationship with Mexico.

That counterpoint can be seen in a very short video clip from the 1980 presidential election where Reagan and Bush—who became Reagan’s vice president for two terms before winning the presidency in 1988—were asked about immigration at a campaign debate in Texas. Their responses show just how far to the right the Republican Party’s current leader, President Trump, and voters who have not left the GOP to become self-described political independents, have moved on immigration.

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BUSTED: CNN’s panel of women defending Trump’s racism were literally the ‘Trumpettes’

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CNN aired a panel that featured “Republican women” defending President Trump’s racist tweets, but failed to mention that they were actually part of a pro-Trump group whose members the network had interviewed in the past.

This article originally appeared at Salon.

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