Federal judge considers fate of Texas 'sanctuary cities' law

On Monday, a Texas border town and some of the state's biggest cities will ask a USA federal judge to halt the state law known as Senate Bill 4, arguing it is unconstitutional, violates human rights and illegally diverts police resources from fighting local crime to enforcing US immigration law. Some members of Congress have raised concerns about spending limited federal dollars to deport otherwise law-abiding immigrants, who are often parents of US citizens.

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.

In its filing, the Justice Department argues the bill is constitutional and that Texas' new law is not preempted by federal immigration law.

While many cities have filed suits attempting to block the passage of this law many leaders are preparing for its passage. He and his supporters have cited cases in which illegal immigrants allegedly committed heinous crimes, including murder, after they were released instead of being turned over to immigration officials.

A USA 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. He and the rest of the state's legal team will lay out their case when the hearing resumes after lunch recess. The administration claims that the 10th Amendment guarantees states the right to craft their own legislation to a certain degree, and that SB 4 is valid.

"We are united in seeking a temporary injunction on a law that would divide our community, divide communities across the state of Texas", Nirenberg said.

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The hearing revisited the racial tension that simmered in the Texas Capitol both before and after Abbott signed the law.

Adler and Austin City Councilman Gregorio Casar joined the protesters to show solidarity with the SB 4 critics in San Antonio. "This feels like an attack on Latinos".

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. Since then, Dallas and Houston have also signed on.

A portion of Saturday's meeting touched on how immigrants should interact with police. The law allows law enforcement officers to question the immigration status of people they detain or arrest. He said the law protects victims and witnesses.

SB4 requires local law enforcement to comply with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers, which are requests to hold someone in jail while their immigration status is investigated. She later said she would follow any law that passed.

"Upholding the law would send a awful signal to other states that they can enact similar or even more draconian laws", Gelernt said in an interview.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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