On August 30, 2017, a federal judge in Austin has temporarily blocked key provisions of the controversial bill SB4 which allows local law enforcement officers to question the immigration status of people they stop and punish local governments who don’t cooperate with federal immigration detainers.
In the 94-page ruling, the judge stated that the police officer upon making a stop is not required to ask about a person’s immigration status and that a person may not be arrested based solely on their immigration status. “If during a lawful detention or arrest an officer obtains information that a detained or arrested individual is undocumented he may not arrest the individual on this basis” said the judge. The police can’t act on a person’s status in order to arrest them, but they can share the information, at their choosing.
The judge further stated that law enforcement agencies do not have to honor every detainer. He ruled that it would be a violation of the person’s Fourth Amendment rights if every detainer was honored. He also halted the provision of the bill that prohibits “a pattern or practice that ‘materially limits’ the enforcement of immigration laws.”
Ultimately, the law is blocked temporarily until it is appealed or the case is completed. What this means for immigrants that the police can still ask about immigration status but the police can’t detain you or arrest your because of it. Furthermore, even if a person is arrested by the police, the police do not have to honor the detainer that is placed by ICE.