Federal judge in SA considers fate of Texas 'sanctuary cities' law

The law allows law enforcement officers to question the immigration status of people they detain or arrest.

The Justice Department is helping Texas defend the law.

On Wednesday, the Houston City Council voted to join Austin, San Antonio and Dallas in the lawsuit against the State of Texas in an attempt to block SB4. The first hearing in the case was slated for Monday morning in federal court. "Parties may disagree with the state legislature's policy determinations in enacting SB 4, but nothing in federal immigration law precludes a state from directing law enforcement officers in the state to cooperate with the federal government, rather than merely permitting them to do so on an ad hoc basis".

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The lawyers challenging the law, which is backed by the Trump administration, urged U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia to issue a preliminary injunction to keep it from taking effect September 1 and said it is unconstitutional on numerous grounds.

"The Department of Justice fully supports Texas's effort and is participating in this lawsuit because of the strong federal interest in facilitating the state and local cooperation that is critical in enforcing our nation's immigration laws", Sessions added. So far, only Texas, Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee have officially passed bills into law banning sanctuary policies. Several groups including the Texas Organizing Project, Workers Defense Project and ACLU of Texas plan to rally and protest outside the courthouse starting at 8:30 a.m.

In the meantime, Immigrants United is putting together workshops to educate people about their rights, putting them in touch with immigration lawyers, and teaching them how to manage their money if a family member were to be detained. The largest city in Texas on Wednesday added its name to the list of cities opposing the law, saying it violated the guarantees of free speech and equal protection under the Constitution.

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Hundreds of local jurisdictions, from county sheriffs to major cities such as NY, have adopted sanctuary policies that limit their cooperation with ICE, the agency that detains and deports immigrants. They argue that existing federal law does not impose any requirement to comply with detainer orders. Charles Perry of Lubbock, said he's confident it will pass constitutional muster. He said the law protects victims and witnesses, and that Texas law forbids racial profiling.

The Trump administration is getting behind the state of Texas, which is seeking to punish so-called "sanctuary cities". "Enforcing immigration law helps prevent unsafe criminals from being released into our communities".

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