The Justice Department announced on Friday that it would help defend Texas’ recently passed ban on sanctuary cities in court.
The ban, enacted in early May, creates a new criminal charge for local officials who refuse to comply with federal immigration authorities. It also charges local jurisdictions up to $25,ooo a day for as long as they continue to defy the ban, and allows law enforcement to demand the immigration status of anybody they detain.
Several localities in Texas filed suit against the state over the law, which is due to take effect in September. A hearing in federal district court is scheduled for Monday. On Friday, the Justice Department said that it would be at the hearing to argue in favor of the ban, according to Politico.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions also issued a statement hailing the ban, and vowing to support Texas:
President Trump has made a commitment to keep America safe and to ensure cooperation with federal immigration laws. Texas has admirably followed his lead by mandating state-wide cooperation with federal immigration laws that require the removal of illegal aliens who have committed crimes.
The Department of Justice fully supports Texas’s effort and is participating in this lawsuit because of the strong federal interest in facilitating the state and local cooperation that is critical in enforcing our nation’s immigration laws.
The Trump administration’s enthusiasm for the ban is hardly surprising. Trump attempted to strip federal funding from sanctuary cities across the country, but found himself blocked by a judge. Sessions has also issued his own threats against sanctuary cities.