Opposition to the law have said it is unconstitutional because it would encourage racial profiling and that SB 4 creates immigration law, a power reserved for the federal government.
The U.S. Justice Department filed a statement of interest on Friday, arguing the bill is constitutional and valid - a move Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called "reassuring" in a news release afterward. Democratic state Rep. Ana Hernandez, who did not become a USA citizen until she was 18 years old, wiped away tears on the witness stand as she recalled Republican colleagues referring to people who are not citizens as "illegals" during debate over SB4.
Gov. Abbott said the law is about safety and would stand up in court. "Together we are going to go into this court and tell the judge that this law is discriminatory, and we reject that", attorney Mimi Marziani said in a press conference outside the courthouse. Elected and appointed officials could lose their jobs, police chiefs could face misdemeanor charges and possible jail time, and local governments could incur fines of up to $25,500 a day if they adopt or enforce policies that prevent law enforcement officers from asking about a person's immigration status or complying with requests to detain immigrants.
"Enforcing immigration law helps prevent risky criminals from being released into our communities", Paxton said. Opponents say it violates the U.S. Constitution by threatening free speech and equal protection.
The Justice Department is helping Texas defend the law. Austin Mayor Steve Adler repeated his argument that it makes cities less safe by discouraging immigrants to report crimes and serve as witnesses.
Garcia is unlikely to rule immediately.
Although buoyed by that decision, lawyers for the plaintiffs in the new case say the issues involving the Texas law are broader. "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". He also stated that the law violates established Texas law.
Trump campaigned against sanctuary cities and on January 25 issued an executive order to punish them. A lot can happen between now and September 1, when the law is set to go into effect. That order has been temporarily blocked in federal court in San Francisco.
Immigrants United spoke about the effects of this fight here in Texas.