nsucurrent.com February 22, 2018

US court hears challenge on Texas law to punish 'sanctuary cities'

27 June 2017, 03:25 | Violet Powell

2017 Getty Images

2017 Getty Images

A US district court judge will hear arguments in the matter at a hearing Monday, at which the plaintiffs in the case will request an injunction blocking the law.

The Department of Justice on Friday sided with Texas in the lawsuit against its recently passed sanctuary cities ban, lending significant if unsurprising support to boosters of the law.

"Enforcing immigration law helps prevent unsafe criminals from being released into our communities", Paxton said.

A lawyer for Texas said the law helps to ensure conformity across the state on the application of immigration law and prevents localities from adopting positions of non-cooperation with federal authorities.

The rally brought together groups from San Antonio, Austin, Houston, Dallas, as well as from smaller communities, including groups like MOVE San Antonio, RAICES, Workers Defense Project, American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, San Antonio Alliance of Teachers, United Here, Texas Organizing Project, Pax Christi, La Union del Pueblo Entero, and more.

The participation by President Trump's Department of Justice in today's court hearing shows that Senate Bill 4 is not about taking on the federal immigration role, but only to partner with them to keep those who commit unsafe crimes off the streets.

The law known as Senate Bill 4 calls for jail time for police chiefs and sheriffs who fail to cooperate in US immigration enforcement. The administration claims that the 10th Amendment guarantees states the right to craft their own legislation to a certain degree, and that SB 4 is valid.

The Justice Department is helping Texas defend the law.

The law, slated to take effect September 1, requires jurisdictions to honor all requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain suspected undocumented immigrants and allows local law enforcement officials to question a person's immigration status during a routine stop.

Local cities have sued Texas over this law claiming that it is unconstitutional and will lead to racial profiling.

Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton welcomed the filing and said in a statement the Department of Justice plans to be involved in all court proceedings on SB 4.

He ruled earlier this month that the Bexar County Sheriff's Office in Texas violated the Fourth Amendment by refusing to release an undocumented immigrant for more than two months on the basis of an ICE detainer.

Trump campaigned against sanctuary cities and on January 25 issued an executive order to punish them.

Some cities in Texas say the law, if upheld, could prompt sports organizations and others to boycott the state, similar to the effect of a controversial bathroom bill in North Carolina. However, that order has been blocked in federal court.

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