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Biden DOJ Sues Border Protectors

In a recent development, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued a strong caution to Governor Greg Abbott of Texas (R), indicating its intent to file a lawsuit if the governor proceeds with the implementation of a newly enacted state law which protects the border. This legislation, endorsed by Abbott earlier this month, permits the prosecution and removal of migrants entering the U.S. from Mexico. The DOJ’s stance is outlined in a communication obtained by The Hill.

Governor Abbott justified the law by pointing to the increasing number of migrant encounters at the U.S. southern border. Set to come into effect on March 5, the law authorizes any Texas law enforcement officer to apprehend individuals suspected of illegal entry. Once detained, migrants must either comply with a judge’s order to leave the U.S. or face misdemeanor charges related to illegal entry.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, in the letter directed to Abbott, argues that the new law is unconstitutional and disrupts the federal government’s authority over immigration enforcement. Boynton referenced the 2012 Supreme Court case of Arizona v. United States, emphasizing the precedent that federal immigration laws generally supersede state laws, even in the absence of a direct conflict.

The DOJ has set a deadline for Abbott to notify them, by January 3, whether Texas will refrain from enforcing the law. Non-compliance would lead the federal government to pursue legal remedies to prevent interference with its immigration functions.

Governor Abbott responded to the DOJ’s letter on social media, accusing the Biden administration of failing to enforce existing U.S. immigration laws and criticizing their attempt to obstruct Texas’ enforcement measures. He expressed concern about what he sees as a disregard for the rule of law and asserted that Texas is striving to preserve the integrity of the nation.

This legislative move by Texas represents an escalation of Abbott’s efforts to address the challenges posed by migration into the state. Previous measures included transporting migrants to designated sanctuary cities and authorizing additional construction of border walls.