Immigration Lawyers Move Conference in Wake of Texas ‘Sanctuary’ Law

• Annual conference won't be held in Texas in 2018 because of law
banning sanctuary cities

• Texas measure requires local law enforcement to follow federal
immigration laws, cooperate with ICE

By Genevieve Douglas, Bloomberg BNA

The American Immigration Lawyers Association canceled plans to hold its 2018 annual conference in Grapevine, Texas, because of a new state law that bans “sanctuary cities.”

Signed by Gov. Greg Abbott (R) May 7, the Republican-passed SB4 requires all local government and law enforcement officials to follow federal immigration laws and cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests to hold people in local jails.
Those who refuse to comply with the law can be fined, charged with a misdemeanor, or removed from office. The law will take effect Sept. 1.

“These kinds of laws don’t stand for what we stand for, which is that America is a nation of immigrants and communities benefit from immigrants,” AILA President William Stock told Bloomberg BNA June 7. “In the end, our Board decided it could not ask AILA members, and in many cases their families, to attend a conference in the state which has passed SB-4 into law.”

The governor’s office didn’t respond to Bloomberg BNA’s request for comment.

The 15,000-member AILA’s annual conference takes place over the course of three and a half days and is the largest yearly gathering of immigration lawyers and legal professionals in the U.S. Approximately 3,000 members are expected to attend the 2018 conference. The association has not yet announced where it will be held.

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