EL PASO, Texas - The City of El Paso will be joining a lawsuit against Senate Bill 4, also known as the Sanctuary Cities Bill, city officials announced Tuesday.
The County of El Paso had previously filed its own lawsuit. The City now joins San Antonio, Austin, and several non-profit organizations in the fight agains SB$.
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) is covering the expenses and there will be no cost to El Paso tax payers, the City said Tuesday.
The term "sanctuary cities" has no legal definition, but Republicans want local police to help federal immigration agents crack down on criminal suspects in the U.S. illegally.
The Texas bill allows police to inquire about the immigration status of anyone they detain, a situation that can range from arrest for a crime to being stopped for a traffic violation. It also requires local officials to comply with federal requests to hold criminal suspects for possible deportation and threatens sheriffs and police chiefs with jail time if they don't work with federal authorities.
The bill allows the state to withhold funding from local governments for acting as sanctuary cities.
The City of El Paso is against placing the responsibilities and duties of federal law enforcement agencies on the back of local law enforcement officers without training and clear guidance. "The unfunded mandate is expected to put additional strain on the El Paso Police Department, as SB 4 will add an extra requirement on the workforce that is already seeing a shortage in staff," the City said.
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