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Protesters marching in the streets outside the Texas State Capital on 'A Day Without Immigrants' last year. Photo: Drew Anthony Smith / Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the majority of Texas' immigration enforcement law that imposed a crackdown on 'sanctuary cities' in the state. The statute gives law enforcement the ability to ask someone during a routine stop whether or not they are in the U.S. legally.

Why it matters: This is a major victory for Texas Republicans and the Trump administration which has been waging an aggressive fight against sanctuary cities. The Justice Department last week sued California over it's sanctuary law, alleging "obstruction of federal immigration enforcement."

The details: The Texas law, which is said to be one of the country’s toughest state-issued immigration policy, threatens officers with fines and jail time if they do not abide by immigration officials. It also prohibits cities and counties from adopting policies that limit immigration enforcement.

  • But, the court overturned the provision that imposes civil penalties for local officials who “endorse a policy under which the entity or department prohibits or materially limits the enforcement of immigration laws.” It said the "endorse" language could violate the First Amendment.

What they're saying:

  • Gov. Greg Abbott (R) lauded the ruling on Twitter, saying "Texas Ban on Sanctuary City Policies upheld by Federal Court of Appeals. Allegations of discrimination were rejected. Law is in effect."
  • Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas that represents some of the plaintiffs, said in a statement the group is "exploring all legal options going forward."

Go deeper

Updated 16 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

Screenshot: Fox News

President Trump has delivered a farewell speech and departed Washington for the last time on Air Force One, kicking off the day that will culminate with President-elect Joe Biden taking office.

What's next: The inaugural celebration for young Americans is being livestreamed, starting at 10am.

Updated 32 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump departs on final Air Force One flight

President Trump and his family took off on Air Force One at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning for the final time en route to Florida.

The big picture: Trump's final hours as president were punctuated by his decisions to snub his successor's inauguration and grant pardons to many of his allies who have been swept up in corruption scandals.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Janet Yellen said all the right things to reassure the markets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Treasury Secretary nominee and former Fed chair Janet Yellen's confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday showed markets just what they can expect from the administration of President-elect Joe Biden: more of what they got under President Trump — at least for now.

What it means: Investors and big companies reaped the benefits of ultralow U.S. interest rates and low taxes for most of Trump's term as well as significant increases in government spending, even before the coronavirus pandemic.