SB 4 creates civil and criminal penalties for police and elected officials if they block cooperation with federal requests to hold local inmates suspected of illegal immigration. "I know that the Office of the Texas Attorney General will strongly defend this bill in court today and win".
The first hearing in the lawsuit is set for 9:30 a.m. Monday at the federal court in San Antonio.
The law, known as Senate Bill 4, calls for jail time for police chiefs, sheriffs and possibly frontline officers who fail to cooperate in USA immigration enforcement.
Hundreds of people rallied Monday against the State's Senate Bill 4 outside the Federal Courthouse, where a judge heard a motion that would halt implementation of the immigration enforcement law while a suit challenging it makes its way through the court system.
A lawyer for Texas said the law helps to ensure conformity across the state on the application of immigration law and prevents localities from adopting positions of non-cooperation with federal authorities.
The hearing revisited the racial tension that simmered in the Texas Capitol both before and after Abbott signed the law.
"Upholding the law would send a awful signal to other states that they can enact similar or even more draconian laws", said Lee Gelernt, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union who will argue the case Monday. Opponents have called the law unconstitutional and say it will disproportionately impact the Latino community.
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The Texas law is set to take effect on September 1.
Hundreds of local jurisdictions, from county sheriffs to major cities such as NY, have adopted sanctuary policies that limit their cooperation with ICE, the agency that detains and deports immigrants. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the new law raises serious Constitutional concerns.
Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement "only issues detainers when there is probable cause on the face of the detainer to arrest an individual on the basis that he is a removable alien, and the detainer is accompanied by an administrative warrant", the filing states.
The Trump administration is getting behind the state of Texas, which is seeking to punish so-called "sanctuary cities".
Earlier this year, President Donald Trump attempted to deter cities from "sanctuary city" status by issuing an executive order that would withhold some federal funding from locations that do not cooperate with federal retainers.
"There's a fear of being racially profiled", said Maldonado, director of League of United Latin American Citizens District 8, which covers 27 Texas counties encompassing over 100,000 citizens.