Trump Administration Backs Texas In Immigration Crackdown Challenge

Trump Administration Backs Texas In Immigration Crackdown Challenge

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 risky crimes off the streets.

Judge Orlando Garcia will preside over the San Antonio hearings and will decide whether a temporary injunction will be granted to stall the new law.

"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", U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a prepared statement.

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. It also punishes local government department heads and elected officials who don't cooperate with federal immigration "detainers" - request by agents to turn over immigrants subject to possible deportation. SB 4 also allows local police officers to ask the immigration status of anyone they stop, drawing comparisons to an Arizona law derided by critics as the "show me your papers" law. Some members of Congress have raised concerns about spending limited federal dollars to deport otherwise law-abiding immigrants, who are often parents of USA citizens.

The lawsuit, filed by the City of El Cenizo and others, argues the law violates both the Texas and US constitutions.

Busloads of demonstrators from across Texas rallied outside, wearing red T-shirts and carrying signs denouncing the law.

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Mayor Steve Adler has said that Austin finds SB4 to be unconstitutional under the first and fourth amendments as well as the Equal Protection Clause in the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

People attending the Houston City Council meeting on Tuesday raise their hands after State Senator Sylvia Garcia voiced her support of the city joining the lawsuit challenging SB4, the state's "sanctuary cities" ban. He said the law protects victims and witnesses, and that Texas law forbids racial profiling.

Garcia is unlikely to rule immediately. On Jan. 25, days after he took office, he issued an executive order vowing to strip federal funding from those that refuse to enforce immigration law.

Immigration Attorney Eric Cedillo says that the law is too vague and that some parts of it don't provide enough guidance.

The Republican-backed law in Texas, the USA state with the longest border with Mexico, takes effect on September 1.

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