The Trump administration filed court papers on Friday to support a Texas state law that would punish so-called “sanctuary cities” and is seeking to argue in court hearings next week in favor of the legislation it says will help keep America safe.
On Monday, a Texas border town and some of the state’s biggest cities will ask a U.S. 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 U.S. immigration law.
The Republican-backed law in Texas, the U.S. state with the longest border with Mexico, takes effect on Sept. 1. It calls for jail time for police chiefs and sheriffs who fail to cooperate in U.S. immigration enforcement.
It was the first such legislation approved by a state since Republican Donald Trump, who backs a crackdown on illegal immigration, became president in January.
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a “statement of interest” with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio, saying the law will facilitate cooperation between the state and federal authorities.
“President Trump has made a commitment to keep America safe and to ensure cooperation with federal immigration laws,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement.
Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton welcomed the filing and said in a statement the Department of Justice plans to be involved in all court proceedings on SB 4.
Plaintiffs including border town El Cenizo, the city of San Antonio and others, have said SB 4 is an extraordinary intrusion into the way they govern.
“Under SB 4, local entities must enforce federal immigration law and must do so regardless of whether such enforcement will divert resources away from more pressing police needs,” they said in court filings.
The law allows police to ask about immigration status during a lawful detention.
Supporters have said immigrants who do not break the law have nothing to fear. Critics contend it allows police to detain people for up to 48 hours for immigration checks, even for minor infractions such as jay-walking.
Police chiefs of the state’s biggest cities have come out against SB 4.
The bill’s Republican sponsor has said in legislative debate there are no local authorities in Texas at present that he considers a “sanctuary city,” a place that shields immigrants in the country illegally.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by David Gregorio)
Trump’s racism is ‘disqualifying’ for him to remain as president: former White House lawyer
Former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal explained on MSNBC on Thursday why he viewed President Donald Trump's racist attacks on four women of color in Congress as disqualifying.
Anchor Brian Williams read a quote from Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.
"Half of the country is appalled but not really sure how to combat him; the other half is cheering, or at least averting its gaze. This is what a political civil war looks like, with words, for now, as weapons," Glasser wrote.
Lawrence O’Donnell reports on the growing movement for the impeachment of President Donald Trump
Anchor Lawrence O'Donnell reported on the growing movement for the impeachment of President Donald Trump during Thursday evening's "The Last Word" on MSNBC.
"The House of Representatives conducted a symbolic vote on a hastily written impeachment resolution by Democratic Congressman Al Green in reaction to the president’s tweeted comments that the House of Representatives voted to condemn as racist," O'Donnell reported. "The impeachment resolution had nothing to do with the [Robert] Mueller investigation and referred only to the president being unfit for office because of the language that he has used recently about members of Congress and immigrants and asylum seekers."
Video proves how far the Trump’s GOP has gone from the era of Ronald Reagan and HW Bush
The immigration policies of Donald Trump’s presidency would have no room for his GOP predecessors Ronald Reagan or George H.W. Bush—who both embraced work visas, family unification, easy border crossings and a better relationship with Mexico.
That counterpoint can be seen in a very short video clip from the 1980 presidential election where Reagan and Bush—who became Reagan’s vice president for two terms before winning the presidency in 1988—were asked about immigration at a campaign debate in Texas. Their responses show just how far to the right the Republican Party’s current leader, President Trump, and voters who have not left the GOP to become self-described political independents, have moved on immigration.