– Attorney General Ken Paxton today expressed his appreciation to President Trump and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) after the DOJ formally announced that it will support the attorney general’s defense of a lawsuit to uphold the constitutionality of a ban on sanctuary cities (Senate Bill 4) in Texas. The law was passed by the state Legislature last session and is slated to take effect September 1.

“It’s reassuring to know that the Trump administration believes in upholding the Constitution and defending the rule of law, and I’m grateful for the DOJ’s assistance in helping my office defend the lawful Senate Bill 4,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Enforcing immigration law helps prevent dangerous criminals from being released into our communities. We look forward to working with DOJ lawyers to see that Senate Bill 4 is fully honored in Texas.”

The DOJ filed a “Statement of Interest” in federal court, indicating that it plans to be involved in all court proceedings on Senate Bill 4. The first hearing is scheduled next week in San Antonio.

“The United States has a substantial interest in, and long history of, working cooperatively with state and local governments on a range of law-enforcement priorities, including immigration,” the DOJ wrote. “On the immigration front, the federal government and local governments cooperate by sharing information regarding aliens who are illegally present in the country and have committed serious crimes, rendering such aliens a removal priority. Texas Senate Bill 4 represents an important decision by the state of Texas to ensure this cooperation occurs uniformly throughout the state.”

Heading off anticipated legal challenges to Senate Bill 4, Attorney General Paxton on May 8 was the first to file a lawsuit defending the sanctuary cities law in Austin. Today, he filed an opposition to motions to preliminarily enjoin Senate Bill 4 in San Antonio, explaining in detail how the cooperative nature of the law is constitutional.