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ICYMI: San Antonio Judge: Bexar County Violated Constitutional Rights of Immigrant Detained for Two Months

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This week, San Antonio Judge Orlando Garcia ruled that the Bexar County sheriff violated the constitutional rights of Julio Trujillo Santoyo by holding him on an ICE detainer for more than two months even after his criminal charges were dismissed. Judge Garcia is also presiding over the case against Texas’ anti-immigrant, “show me your papers” law, SB4.

As the San Antonio Express News’ Jason Buch reported,

In a summary judgment, Judge Orlando Garcia found the Bexar County Jail regularly honors ICE detainers, which are requests that the jail hold for 48 hours people who were arrested on state criminal charges and were ordered released but are suspected of violating immigration laws.

Because immigration violations for the most part are civil matters that don’t incur criminal penalties, the Sheriff’s Office does not have probable cause to hold them, he ruled.


Said Michelle Tremillo, executive director of the Texas Organizing Project:

This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that a court finds that immigration detainers are unconstitutional. It’s unfortunate that Gov. Greg Abbott is compelling law enforcement to trample on people’s constitutional rights or risk losing funding. But thankfully we have our courts who take politics out of applying the law, and protect our rights and freedoms.

Said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership:

This ruling affirms what immigrant advocates, legal scholars, and federal courts have found to be true throughout the country: warrantless immigration detainers are not only discriminatory, they are also unconstitutional. When Travis County rightly decided to stop honoring most of these illegal detainers, it did so knowing that the 4th amendment applies to everyone in this country, regardless of their immigration status. It’s long past time for other Texas counties to follow suit.

This ruling also strikes a big blow against the central mandates of the new ‘show me your papers’ law that would force these illegal immigration detainers onto Texas law enforcement officers. We will not stop until SB4, and all other discriminatory laws in Texas, are wiped from the books. Our communities will fight back.