24 June, 2017
The Department of Justice weighed in on the Texas "sanctuary city" law, issuing a statement of interest in support of the law and offering to help defend Texas in court. It punishes officials who do not cooperate with federal immigration laws. "Because Trump wants to fulfill his promises of mass deportations, the federal government needs to find ways to commandeer local law enforcement resources to aid them in the arrest, detention and deportation of immigrants". The Republican-backed law in Texas known as Senate Bill 4 calls for jail time for police chiefs and sheriffs who fail to cooperate in USA immigration enforcement. The DOJ's statement of interest states that the law is not in violation of the Constitution and that it marks an "important decision" to boost necessary cooperation with state and local governments.
Earlier this week, an attorney with LULAC said a notice had been sent to the parties involved in the federal lawsuit challenging the state's new immigration law indicating the Justice Department would back the state.
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.
If successful, the new legal efforts would force local authorities to assist federal immigrations officers whether they want to or not. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, has said the law is meant to keep communities safer and to counter "a culture of contempt for the federal law in this area".
"It's reassuring to know that the Trump administration believes in upholding the Constitution and defending the rule of law, and I'm grateful for the DOJ's assistance in helping my office defend the lawful Senate Bill 4", Texas Attorney General Paxton said.
U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia has scheduled a June 26 hearing to consider plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction to stop SB 4 from going into effect as the court case plays out.
"SB 4 also provides that a law enforcement agency is not required to comply with a detainer request when the subject of a detainer provides proof of citizenship or lawful immigration status, mitigating any concern that it violates the Fourth Amendment", the DOJ argues.
Luis Roberto Vera, Jr. the national general counsel for the League of United Latin American Citizens, which is a plaintiff in the case, said the Texas law is discriminatory because it primarily targets Hispanics, one of the state's largest groups.
The Trump administration has officially entered the courtroom battle over Senate Bill 4, Texas' immigration-enforcement bill.
El Cenizo Mayor Raul Reyes.
"It's a continuation of Donald Trump's war on Mexicanos", Vera said.