The US Justice Department today filed a brief in support of the new state law banning Sanctuary Cities, saying the goal of the Texas enhances the federal government's obligation to secure the nation's borders, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
In a 49 page brief filed in the federal court in San Antonio which will consider the issue on Monday, the Justice Department says the new state law, known technically as SB 4, does not conflict with United States law. In fact, the Justice Department says it makes the law more fair and equitable.
"The United States has a substantial interest in, and long history of, working cooperatively with state and local governments on a range of law enforcement priorities," the brief states. "On the immigration front, the federal government and local governments cooperate by sharing information regarding aliens who are illegally present in the country and have committed serious crimes, rending such aliens a removal priority. Texas SB 4 represents an important decision by the state of Texas to ensure this cooperation occurs uniformly throughout the State."
A federal judge in San Antonio on Monday will hear arguments on whether the law should be blocked from taking effect on Monday as scheduled.
The law requires local officials to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, and to honor Immigration and Customs Enforcement 'Detainer' requests to hold a person in a county jail beyond the point where they would usually be released, so ICE officials can take custody of them for possible deportation.
The law also allows, but does not require, local police officers to enquire about the immigration status of a person who is 'detained.'"This is the most intrusive government policy, and now law, that can occur," said Luis Vera, an attorney with the League of United Latin American Citizens, which is a party to the lawsuit.Opponents have called this a 'show me your papers' law, and said it will lead to racial profiling by police.
They also claim it will make cities more dangerous by dissuading crime victims and witnesses who are immigrants from reporting crimes to the police, out of fear the police will arrest and deport them.
Supporters of the bill, including Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, says those are 'big lies,' being told by opponents, and stress both of those are forbidden by the law.