A judge has allowed the state of Indiana to intervene in a lawsuit that alleges the city of Gary's sanctuary city ordinance violates state law.
Attorney General Curtis T. Hill granted the motion to have the state added as a plaintiff in the case against Gary officials, The Northwest Indiana Times reported .
Gary enacted a "welcoming city" ordinance in May 2017 that prohibits local officials from investigating an individual's legal status unless required by a court order. The ordinance was designed to provide some protection for residents of Gary who are living in the country illegally.
"Gary, Indiana, has always provided leadership in northwest Indiana in ensuring equal opportunity for all. This ordinance is no different," Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said in December.
Terre Haute-based attorney James Bopp Jr. filed a lawsuit in December in Lake County Circuit Court alleging the ordinance violates a 2011 Indiana law. State law bans ordinances that prohibit local officials from cooperating with federal officials enforcing U.S. immigration laws.
"(U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) priorities are to pick up illegal aliens convicted of, or charged with, crimes. So such non-cooperation enables such persons to dodge immigration officials and remain in the community," Bopp said in a news release.
Bopp has requested the ordinance's enforcement be halted and that the city pay the plaintiffs' court costs.
Oral arguments intiially scheduled for Tuesday will be rescheduled for a later date because of the state's intervention, Bopp said.