Justice Department Backs Texas 'sanctuary city' Law In Court

And numerous legal challenges to the law state that it violates the Fourth Amendment and is unconstitutional because SB 4 creates immigration law, a power reserved exclusively for the federal government.

Texas' Senate Bill 4 punishes local officials that refuse to comply with federal immigration detainers and forbids localities from creating laws to deny federal officials immigration information. The suit alleges that the law is unconstitutional and undermines local municipalities sovereignty by forcing them to carry out the agenda of the federal government.

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.

"Especially federally appointed judges who are appointed for life, who know the law infinitely better than these DOJ administrators, aren't going to be swayed by people who are towing a company line, that are out there just kind of having to support the administration's position", Menendez said.

The Trump administration has joined the legal battle over Texas' Senate Bill 4, announcing it would support the state's defense of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new law banning sanctuary cities.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement Friday that the DOJ "fully supports" Texas' efforts to defend SB 4, because of the "strong federal interest in facilitating the state and local cooperation that is critical in enforcing our nation's immigration laws".

"The DOJ primarily argues that SB4 is not preempted by the Supremacy Clause, it is not inconsistent with the Tenth Amendment, and it does not violate the Fourth Amendment", the release states.

In April, Sessions blamed lax immigration enforcement for a crime spike in so-called sanctuary cities, which frustrated law enforcement officials in such cities as NY. 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. 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".

Read the Justice Department's statement of interest below. Casar said he will be at the hearing, and witness lists from San Antonio and Austin indicated that several elected officials will offer testimony in the hearing, which starts at 9:30 a.m. Monday.

  • Leroy Wright