Mexico joins Texas muncipalities suing over ‘sanctuary city’ law

Federal officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Enforcement and Removal Operations arrested 95 criminal aliens and others throughout Southeast Texas during a five-day enforcement action in April. Mexico's government has joined Texas municipalities suing over the state's law that cracks down on illegal immigration by banning "sanctuary cities." Photo courtesy of ICE

Oct. 21 (UPI) — Mexico’s government has joined Texas municipalities suing the state for its new law barring local governments from implementing what are known as “sanctuary city” policies protecting undocumented immigrants.

Mexican government lawyers said Texas Senate Bill 4 forces the nation to treat Texas differently than other states.

“Given the importance of the international relationship between the U.S. and Mexico, it is essential that Mexico be able to approach its discussions with one consistent negotiating partner rather than having to enter into 50 different negotiations with each state regarding the type and extent of immigration enforcement that will occur in that state,” the Mexican government wrote in an amicus brief filed late Thursday and obtained by McClatchy.

The law, which was signed in May by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, would prevent municipalities from limiting enforcement of immigration laws and allows police officers to question people about their immigration status when detained.

“The possibility that thousands of previously work-authorized Mexican nationals who study, work and reside in Texas are now under threat of removal [and irreparable harm] upon any interaction with a Texas law enforcement official has engendered unprecedented levels of anxiety in the Mexican community,” Mexico wrote in the brief, which Bloomberg obtained.

Local government department heads and elected officials who don’t cooperate with federal immigration “detainers” could face jail time and penalties that exceed $25,000. But a federal judge in San Antonio this summer temporarily blocked the law from kicking in, as part of a suit from most of Texas’ largest cities.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans later allowed Texas officials to implement part of the law while awaiting a full hearing scheduled for Nov. 7.

“The reason immigration law is meant to be federal is because when 50 states pass 50 different laws, this negatively impacts foreign policy in ways that the federal government is unable to control,” Leon Fresco, a lawyer representing the government of Mexico, told McClatchy.

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