The Trump Administration is going to enter the battle on Texas’ sanctuary city ban and will fight against Democrats and open borders advocates. The law has some of the “stiffest penalties in America” against officials who ignore immigration detainers and release criminal aliens in defiance.
The Texas Attorney General’s Office confirmed the action by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and provided a copy of the “Statement of Interest” filed with the federal court on Wednesday. Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler, Director of the Office of Immigration Litigation William C. Peachey, and Senior Litigation Counsel Erez Reuveni filed the document, attached below.
The DOJ contacted the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) on Monday, and other plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the State of Texas, including the City of Austin, informing them they intend to file a statement of interest. The DOJ said they are going to be involved in upcoming court hearings – including one on June 26 seeking to block the ban. A hearing is scheduled next week in a San Antonio federal courtroom.
Bloomberg Politics reported that LULAC received an email from the Justice Department and the “White House has ordered the U.S. Justice Department to jump into Texas’ battle to force its cities and elected local officials to comply with the state’s tough sanctuary-city ban.”
The cities of San Antonio, El Paso, Dallas, Austin, Houston, and the small Texas border city of El Cenizo have all sued the State of Texas. The Texas governor and attorney general are also named in the lawsuit. LULAC and El Cenizo were the first to file a lawsuit and did so days after the Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 4 into law.
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), LULAC, La Unión Del Pueblo Entero, the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education (TACHE), and the Worker’s Defense Project (WDF) are all banding together to try to block the anti-sanctuary jurisdiction law.
As reported by Breitbart Texas, Senate Bill 4 allows but does not require, police officers to inquire about the immigration status of a person. In an exclusive interview with Breitbart Texas, Governor Abbott said that the Arizona “show me your papers” law required police officers to check a person’s immigration status. Abbott explained that the Texas provision, unlike the one in Arizona, has been upheld even by the liberal justices on the United States Supreme Court.
Governor Abbott told Breitbart Texas after signing the bill into law that officials who implement sanctuary policies and release criminal aliens subject to detainers will now be submitted to the “stiffest penalties in America.” The new law, which is set to go into effect on September 1, makes it a Class A misdemeanor for law enforcement officials to refuse to cooperate with detainers and federal immigration officials. Besides the criminal penalties, elected and appointed law enforcement officials could be removed from office.
A report released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials on March 20 of this year showed that Travis County, Texas, was the number one offender in releasing criminal aliens that were subject to an ICE detainer. Over 70 percent of the criminal aliens released nationwide from January 28 to February 3 were released by Travis County Sheriff “Sanctuary Sally” Hernandez.
A new poll in Texas reveals that 58 percent of the State’s voters strongly support or somewhat support a requirement that local officials in Texas cooperate with federal immigration authorities. The poll also states that a majority of Texas voters believe that peace officers in the state should be able to ask residents about their immigration status.
SB 4 also provides that local governmental bodies, a state justice agency, or campus police department, could be fined up to $25,500 a day. These state entities could also not receive state grant funds.
Breitbart Texas reported that the State of Texas considers the MS-13 gang to be a Tier 1 level or the “most significant” threat level. The rise of horrific violence from the gang based in El Salvador and Honduras has also decidedly affected crime levels in the fourth-largest city in the United States. Houston is one of the five cities that the FBI has identified to have a large MS-13 presence.
In March, two MS-13 gang members appeared in a Harris County courtroom laughing and waving at news cameras after being charged with the kidnapping and rape of one 14-year-old girl, and the kidnapping, rape, and murder of another young girl in Jersey Village – a city within the Houston metropolitan area. The murdered girl was allegedly killed as part of a satanic ritual.
On Tuesday, William F. Sweeney, Jr., the assistant director in charge of the FBI in New York told the House Homeland Security Committee Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, “MS-13 is not the largest street gang in the United States; it is increasingly the most violent and well-organized,” reported Breitbart Texas.
The FBI assistant director added that MS-13 members are “typically much younger than those connected to other street gangs.” They take “cues from the gang instead of relying on a productive family structure. Also, those emigrating from El Salvador to the United States are known to be exposed and desensitized to extreme violence at an early age.” MS-13 members frequently recruit children who are illegal immigrants.
In late April Breitbart News reported that President Trump tweeted, “The Democrats don’t want money from budget going to border wall despite the fact that it will stop drugs and very bad MS 13 gang members.”
Democrats and open borders advocates in Texas have fought hard to turn others against the sanctuary ban. Despite the threat of MS-13 in Houston and Dallas, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings have joined other mayors in trying to get the law blocked.