Sanctuary City Proponents Launch Legal Assault on Texas SB 4 Law

Could a judge’s release of an ICE-detained illegal immigrant signal trouble for Texas’s anti-sanctuary law?

U.S. District Court Judge Orlando Garcia freed Julio Trujillo, who was held 76 days in Bexar County jail on a detainer requested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“Routine detention … made it inevitable that it (the county) would engage in warrantless detention of individuals who were not suspected of any crime,” Garcia wrote in his decision.

Trujillo landed in the San Antonio hoosegow after allegedly assaulting his girlfriend last year. When the assault charges were dropped, Judge Garcia said Trujillo should have been freed – though under no obligation to leave the U.S. His whereabouts are unknown.

Also unknown is why Trujillo was kept behind bars long after the 48-hour limit that typically applies to detainers.

Without setting deadlines, ICE policy states that the agency “places detainers on aliens who have been arrested on local criminal charges and for whom ICE possesses probable cause to believe that they are removable from the United States, so that ICE can take custody of the alien when he or she is released from local custody.”

Trujillo – a Mexican national who re-entered the U.S. illegally after being deported in 2001 – is now part of a legal challenge to Texas’s Senate Bill 4, which requires local jails to honor ICE detainer requests. Judge Garcia will hear that case, too.

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar, who has broken with fellow Democrat sheriffs by cooperating with ICE, won’t talk about Trujillo’s extended detention, which Judge Garcia blamed on a “paperwork error.”

ICE ducked FAIR’s questions about Trujillo’s case, saying the agency does not comment on pending litigation.

FAIR: Role of state and local enforcement in immigration matters

With no one taking responsibility, or offering a plausible explanation for the 76-day incarceration, open-border lawyers are seeking to exploit this case to assert that detainers are always unconstitutional for civil violations, a position Judge Garcia seemed to endorse in his decision to free Trujillo. Yet a detainer for illegal (criminal) re-entry after deportation (e.g., Trujillo) presents a different scenario. Based on Trujillo’s criminal reentry to the United States, ICE was on sound legal ground to issue a detainer request, although it is hard to conjure a credible scenario for why they could not act on that request within 76 days.

ICE, Sheriff Salazar and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will get their day in court to argue sanctuary-detainer policies before Judge Garcia. Will Trujillo’s long-term jail stay undermine their case and kill SB 4?

The important legal question to be decided is whether SB 4’s requirement that ICE detainer requests be honored within the normal 48-hour time period. The eleven-week delay in acting on ICE’s detainer request for Trujillo is an aberration (and one that needs to be explained by ICE) and should not affect the legitimacy of Texas’s law requiring compliance with timely detainer requests from ICE.

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Content written by Federation for American Immigration Reform staff.


  1. avatar
    Nancylee credle on

    Judge Garcia should not be the judge on the legal challenge case against Texas SB 4. Given his decision on the first case, when he obviously did not think the defendant’s prior deportation & illegal re-entry should be a factor, why do we waste taxpayer money on letting the same judge try the subsequent case? It will just have to be appealed.

  2. avatar

    The loony liberals are constantly holding the illegal aliens above the laws and the citizens… ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!! It must end NOW!!!
    WHY do these loony liberal morons think they are entitled to federal funds and do NOT want to obey the federal laws… and cooperate with federal agents in their job to enforce our the laws of this country???!!!!
    The loony liberals are breaking our laws by harboring and protecting illegal aliens from our federal agents….
    ANY STINKING judge who bans or blocks this sanctuary city policy should be removed from the bench!!!!! He/she is ANTI-AMERICAN!!!!
    It is WAY past time for this insanity of holding the illegal aliens above the law to STOP!!!!

    • avatar

      I retired from the Border Patrol and lodged a lot of detainers with various agencies; I firmly believe that law enforcement agencies should be required to honor immigration detainers.

      The form is I-247, and it clearly states that the law enforcement agency is asked to hold the alien for up to 48 hours and that it does not authorize the agency to hold the alien for more that 48 hours on behalf of ICE.

      There may be reasons why it takes 76 days to remove an illegal alien, such as obtaining the necessary documents from the alien’s country. But, in that case, ICE should have taken the alien into their custody within 48 hours or should have made other appropriate arrangements. This guy was ID’d as a “prior deport” so there shouldn’t have been any debate about whether or not he was deportable.

      This appears to be a “screw up”, and the results shouldn’t be a surprise. Somebody apparently lost track of this guy and gave the advocates for illegal aliens something to protest about.

  3. avatar
    littlerocker on

    These judges should be arrested for violating the law, then maybe others would enforce it.

    • avatar

      President Trump needs to get these liberal judges removed and replaced with someone who will ENFORCE our laws…
      THEY want federal funds but don’t want to obey federal laws and cooperate with federal agents… IT NEEDS TO STOP!!!
      I’m FED up with these loony liberals holding illegal aliens above our laws and above the citizens!!!

  4. avatar

    It is time for An Everyday Patriot Person to Get an Appointment to “Speak Before Congress and Represent Us the Patriots Who Back Trump” to tell it just the way it is and what We the Patriots desire out of the Elected Officials in D.C. and Until It is done We are Spinning Our Wheels …..Ha or Is there Someone Out There that has the Funds and Nerve to do this for the Rest of Us True blooded Americans?

  5. avatar
    Anti invader on

    The “constitutional” 48 hour ‘retention’ limitation should not, and does not, apply to those who entered the country illegally. The rules of war should apply as they are, and should be, considered an invader which falls under the category ‘acts of aggression’ by foreign powers. The Mexican government has long endorsed and encouraged such ‘invaders’ and as such they fall into a different category than ‘asylum seekers’.
    Build the Wall!
    Imprison then deport first time offenders, execute repeat offenders. ‘Fool me once’ and all of that…

    • avatar

      Just more libraturd stuff.. According to them,, “The constitution is for the population of the world”.