AG Paxton Files Brief With 5th Circuit Defending the Constitutionality of Texas’ Sanctuary Cities Law

AUSTIN, September 29, 2017 - Ahead of oral arguments scheduled for the week of November 6 on Senate Bill 4 (SB 4), Attorney General Ken Paxton today filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, outlining the many reasons it should overturn a lower court ruling that blocked Texas’ sanctuary cities law from taking effect on September 1. Earlier this week, a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit largely stayed the injunction of the district court and permitted key provisions of SB 4 to be enforced while the case is on appeal.

In his brief, Attorney General Paxton told the 5th Circuit that SB 4 – which the Legislature enacted in May – is lawful and does not violate any constitutional rights. SB 4 affirms the right and duty of law enforcement agencies throughout Texas to detain individuals pursuant to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement federal detainer program.

“Senate Bill 4 represents an important decision by the Legislature to set a statewide policy of cooperation among federal, state and local law enforcement to protect Texans from dangerous criminals being released back into our communities,” Attorney General Paxton said. “As a nation of laws, it is imperative that SB 4 is fully honored in Texas. We look forward to presenting our arguments before the 5th Circuit on this undoubtedly constitutional law.”

A U.S. District Court in San Antonio granted a preliminary injunction of SB 4 on August 30, just two days before it was scheduled to take effect. By unanimous vote, the 5th Circuit panel this week found that SB 4’s requirement that local governments comply with federal immigration detainer requests should take effect.

SB 4 allows the attorney general to receive complaints from residents within the jurisdiction of a local entity (or that are enrolled in or employed by an institution of higher education) regarding violations of the anti-sanctuary or detainer provisions. Complaints must include sworn statements asserting facts regarding the alleged violation. View the attorney general’s website with instructions for filing a complaint at

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