Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also praised the ruling, saying in a statement that SB 4 is constitutional and protects the safety of law enforcement officers and all Texans.
A US 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.
People protest outside a speech by US Attorney General Jeff Sessions March 7, 2018, in Sacramento, California.
The law, known as Senate Bill 4, calls for jail for police chiefs, sheriffs and possibly frontline officers who fail to cooperate over US immigration.
The Texas law allows police officers to ask people during routine stops whether they're in the US legally and threatens sheriffs with jail time for not cooperating with federal immigration authorities.
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On January 25, President Donald Trump ordered the resumption of the 2008 Secure Communities program that relied on information sharing among local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to identify and deport immigrants with criminal records. "I am looking forward to an appeal regarding the constitutionality of this misguided, anti-immigrant law".
Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez, a bullseye for legislators targeting sanctuary cities due to her previous limited cooperation with ICE, said in a statement in a statement: "Words just can't express how disappointed I am with this ruling".
Lee Gelernt, a lawyer for several of the plaintiffs, said they were considering whether to appeal and would probably make a decision this week.
The bill, which is the subject of a legal challenge from the cities of Dallas, Austin, Houston, San Antonio and El Paso, among others, allows local law enforcement officers in Texas to question the legal status of anyone they detain or arrest and threatens to punish any local government entity or official who doesn't cooperate with detention orders issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The first step in an appeal would most likely be to request a review by the full Fifth Circuit court.
He added that local officials had been given little guidance as to what requests they were and were not allowed to refuse, and that with huge penalties on the line - violations of S.B.