Trump administration weighs in on Texas' sanctuary cities court battle

Jun 27, 2017, 03:26
Trump administration weighs in on Texas' sanctuary cities court battle

The law also allows state and local law enforcement to ask about the immigration status of individuals they have arrested or detained.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is defending a new Texas law created to crack down on sanctuary cities, the Washington Examiner reports.

Opponents of the measure, including the cities of Houston, Austin and San Antonio, as well as Webb County's El Cenizo and Maverick and El Paso counties, argue in court filings that the law violates several provisions of the U.S. Constitution, including guarantees of equal protection and freedom of speech.

"We are united in trying to seek a preliminary injunction on a law that would divide our community, divide communities throughout the state of Texas", San Antonio's newly elected mayor Ron Nirenberg said.

In a statement, the Department of Justice voiced support for the major provisions of Senate Bill 4, which requires Texas cities to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement officials.

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Although the controversial SB4 law was signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott without fanfare, a federal court hearing of the law on Monday is certain to be greeted with plenty of activity from protestors opposed to the law.

The department filed a statement of interest on Friday with the federal district court in San Antonio that is handling the suit, indicating that it will be involved in the lawsuit going forward. "And that's, frankly, what Texas's law does", White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters at an off-camera briefing Friday.

A handful of Texas cities - including Austin - are now suing the state, saying the law promotes discrimination.

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.

But advocates say ICE is arresting many immigrants who do not pose a threat to public safety, such as a Falls Church woman deported to El Salvador last week.

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Sanctuary cities say aiding immigration agents deters immigrants from reporting crime and could lead to racial profiling and the deportations for minor offenses. She later said she would follow any law that passed. What would happen if a rank-and-file police officer who determined that someone wasn't in the country legally didn't turn over that information to U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement?

The Trump administration has officially entered the courtroom battle over Senate Bill 4, Texas' immigration-enforcement bill.

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

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

The American Immigration Lawyers Association has moved its 2018 conference from Grapevine, Tex., to San Francisco because of the law.

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