Immigrant Harboring Law Under Scrutiny

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Both sides are claiming victory in the recent dismissal of a lawsuit against a Texas law that forbids “concealing, harboring, or shielding” illegal aliens.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) had filed suit against the state of Texas on behalf of two landlords – David Cruz and Valentin Reyes – who never ask prospective tenants for their immigration status, and Jonathan Ryan, an immigration services agency director.

The lawsuit alleged that under the immigrant-harboring law that went into effect in September 2015, the landlords could be charged with renting homes to illegal aliens.

The lawsuit originally prompted a district judge to place a block on the anti-harboring law while the case was being considered by the court.

In response, Steve McCraw, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) director, issued a written statement assuring that the DPS had no intention of going after the landlords.

The Texas Tribune reports that now a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans has dismissed the case, saying that there was no reasonable interpretation that renting a house or providing services equals ‘harboring’ of illegal aliens.

MALDEF is claiming victory, saying the 5th Circuit judges have now defined harboring in such a way that the state will be very limited in how they are able to enforce the law.

Texas has claimed victory, as well. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said, “Today’s ruling by the 5th Circuit will allow the state to fight the smuggling of humans and illegal contraband by transnational gangs and perpetrators of organized crime, not just on the border but throughout Texas.”

Meanwhile, Texas governor Greg Abbot is cracking down hard on government officials who adopt “sanctuary city” policies. Newly elected Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez has announced her county is a sanctuary for illegals, and Abbot has responded by withholding $1.5 million in state funding.

Gov. Abbot said Texas will pass an anti-sanctuary law, and that there will be fines up to $9 million per year, along with the possibility of criminal penalties, for public officials who adopt sanctuary policies.

H/T: Texas Tribune

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