- Associated Press - Thursday, June 29, 2017

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A federal judge in Austin is questioning why his court should decide whether a Texas “sanctuary city” crackdown is constitutional before the law takes effect in September.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks may not ultimately determine if Texas can let police officers ask people about their immigration status. The state’s four largest cities, including Dallas and Houston, are already suing in a separate San Antonio court.

Sparks on Thursday didn’t immediately rule on efforts by the state to move the case to Austin. But he challenged claims about how local policing would be impacted.

Opponents say immigrant crime victims will be reluctant to come forward if police are empowered to ask people whether they’re legally in the U.S.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott says the law is needed for public safety.

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