The Biden administration issued a warning to Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott on Thursday, stating that legal action will be pursued if the state enforces a recently enacted law. This law grants authorities the power to arrest, detain, prosecute, and deport individuals who enter the country unlawfully.
In a letter addressed to Abbott, a Justice Department official stated that the law was unconstitutional and went against the United States’ commitment to processing noncitizens in accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act.
The state’s Operation Lone Star will be implementing a new law called SB4, also known as Senate Bill 4, which will come into effect on March 5.
In a letter obtained by CBS News, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton states that SB 4 is in violation of the United States Constitution and is preempted. As a result, the United States plans to file a lawsuit to prevent the enforcement of SB 4 unless Texas agrees to refrain from enforcing the law.
On December 18, Governor Abbott signed SB 4 into law, which now classifies illegally crossing the US-Mexico border as a state crime. This legislation also grants police the authority to apprehend individuals who are suspected of crossing the Rio Grande outside of designated ports of entry.
Migrants who are apprehended while attempting to enter the country illegally would be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. This offense carries a potential jail sentence of up to six months. If the individual is caught again for the same offense, they would face a second-degree felony charge, which could result in a prison term of up to 20 years.
Under SB 4, Texas judges have the authority to dismiss charges against migrants on the condition that they consent to being deported.
According to Boynton, the new law infringes upon a domain that is already governed by the federal government and is therefore preempted.
The Supreme Court has affirmed that the responsibility of the removal process should be placed in the hands of the Federal Government. This is because determining removability has implications for foreign relations and requires a unified decision-making approach.
According to the DOJ official, SB 4 has the potential to result in the detention or deportation of individuals with valid asylum claims, thereby exposing them to the risk of persecution or torture in their home countries.
The Biden administration has requested Governor Abbott to provide confirmation that he will not enforce the new law by January 3rd.
In a scathing social media post, Abbott criticized the threat and accused President Biden of “destroying America.” The post included a link to a report on the administration’s demand.
“The Biden Administration not only refuses to enforce current U.S. immigration laws, but they also seek to prevent Texas from enforcing laws against illegal immigration,” Governor Abbott expressed in a recent post. “I have never witnessed such a significant disregard for the rule of law in our country. Biden’s actions are causing immense harm to America, and it is Texas’ responsibility to protect and preserve it.”
According to The Post, a representative from Abbott’s office stated that Texas is prepared to escalate the legal fight to the Supreme Court in order to enforce SB 4, if required.
Renae Eze, the representative of Governor Abbott, stated that Texas is fully prepared to go to the U.S. Supreme Court in order to safeguard the people of Texas and all Americans from the open border policies of President Biden.
President Biden’s lack of action at the southern border has forced Texas to handle the situation on its own. Last week, Governor Abbott took a step towards addressing the issue by signing Senate Bill 4 into law. This bill aims to combat the influx of illegal entry into Texas, which has become a significant concern as the President fails to enforce federal immigration laws.
The governor has taken measures to tackle the influx of migrants into Texas. One strategy involves transporting new arrivals to designated sanctuary cities like New York and Chicago. Additionally, the governor has constructed a floating barrier in the Rio Grande. However, the courts have ordered the governor to remove this barrier.
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