Biden Administration to Challenge Texas’ Migrant Arrest and Deportation Law in Court

 Biden Administration to Challenge Texas’ Migrant Arrest and Deportation Law in Court

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The Biden administration has issued a stern warning to Texas Governor Greg Abbott, threatening legal action if the state implements a new law allowing the arrest, jailing, prosecution, and deportation of migrants who enter the country illegally. This law, part of Texas’ Operation Lone Star and known as SB4 or Senate Bill 4, is set to take effect on March 5.

The Justice Department, in a letter to Abbott, declared the law unconstitutional, stating it contradicts the U.S. commitment to fair processing of noncitizens as per the Immigration and Nationality Act. Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, who authored the letter obtained by CBS News, emphasized that the law intrudes on federal authority and violates the Constitution. The Department intends to file a lawsuit to prevent the enforcement of SB 4 unless Texas refrains from implementing it.

SB 4, which Governor Abbott signed into law on December 18, criminalizes illegal entry into the U.S. from Mexico and authorizes local police to arrest individuals suspected of illegal border crossings. Migrants caught under this law would face up to six months in jail for a Class B misdemeanor, with repeat offenders risking up to 20 years in prison for a second-degree felony. The law also allows Texas judges to drop charges if migrants agree to deportation.

The Justice Department argues that immigration enforcement falls solely under federal jurisdiction, as affirmed by the Supreme Court, which stated that decisions on removal must be made uniformly due to their impact on foreign relations. The DOJ also expressed concern that SB 4 could result in the imprisonment or deportation of migrants with legitimate asylum claims, potentially sending them back to face persecution or torture.

Governor Abbott has sharply criticized the Biden administration’s stance, accusing President Biden of undermining American law and failing to enforce existing immigration laws. On social media, Abbott asserted that while the Biden administration neglects border security, Texas is striving to uphold it.

Abbott’s spokesperson, Renae Eze, stated that Texas is prepared to defend SB 4 up to the U.S. Supreme Court to protect citizens from what they view as the President’s lax border policies. The governor has also taken measures like bussing migrants to sanctuary cities and constructing a barrier in the Rio Grande, though courts have ordered its removal.

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