Houston joins federal lawsuit against sanctuary city bill

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Houston city council voted to join a federal lawsuit against Texas bill banning so-called sanctuary cities.

The City of Houston will join a federal lawsuit against SB-4, the controversial state bill banning so-called sanctuary cities.

City council members voted to join the lawsuit during a Wednesday morning meeting.

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 bill allows the state to withhold funding from local governments for acting as sanctuary cities.

Republicans have a strong majority in the Legislature and shoved aside Democratic objections to push the bill, even as President Donald Trump's efforts to withhold federal funding for sanctuary cities have hit roadblocks in federal courts.

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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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