A U.S. district judge in Austin has rejected an effort by Texas to have a law that would punish so-called sanctuary cities be declared constitutional ahead of the measure taking effect next month.
The Republican-backed law is the first of its kind since Republican Donald Trump became president in January, promising to crack down on illegal immigration. Texas is the U.S. state with the longest border with Mexico.
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, appointed under Republican President George H.W. Bush, dismissed the case without prejudice late on Wednesday. The brief ruling did not give a reason.
Senate Bill 4 calls for jail time for police chiefs, sheriffs and possibly frontline officers who fail to cooperate with U.S. immigration officials. The measure also allows police to ask about immigration status during a lawful detention.
After the law was approved in May, Texas sued major urban areas, including Austin, El Paso and Houston, as well as civil rights groups, saying they backed policies of non-cooperation with federal immigration officials.