AUSTIN (AP) – The Trump administration is backing a Texas “sanctuary city” crackdown in court ahead of a federal judge deciding whether to put the new law on hold.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill that bans “sanctuary cities” in Texas. (credit: Office of Governor Greg Abbott/Facebook)

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Friday that Texas “has admirably” followed the lead of President Donald Trump’s tougher stance on illegal immigration. The new law takes effect in September and lets police ask people about their immigration status during routine stops.

“The Department of Justice fully supports Texas’s effort and is participating in this lawsuit because of the strong federal interest in facilitating the state and local cooperation that is critical in enforcing our nation’s immigration laws,” Sessions added.

Houston this week joined other major Texas cities, including Dallas and Austin, in asking U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia to stop the law from taking effect. The first court hearing is Monday in San Antonio.

Opponents say the law is unconstitutional and will create a chilling effect in immigrant communities. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott says only lawbreakers have anything to worry about.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)