DOJ threatens to sue Texas over border security law

The U.S. Department of Justice  warned the Abbott administration that it will sue the State of Texas to prevent the implementation of a recently enacted state law designed to criminalize illegal immigration.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton addressed the letter to Gov. Greg Abbott and carbon copied Attorney General Ken Paxton. A copy of the letter was published on social media by CBS News.

Boynton gave the State of Texas a deadline of January 3, 2024 to “confirm” that Senate Bill (SB) 4 will not be enforced. Otherwise, he said the U.S. government will “pursue all appropriate legal remedies to ensure that Texas does not interfere with the functions of the federal government.”

Invoking the landmark Supreme Court decision Arizona v. United States, Boynton said that SB 4 only “purports” to criminalize illegal immigration and runs afoul of federal law.

“SB 4 is preempted and violates the United States Constitution. Accordingly, the United States intends to file suit to enjoin the enforcement of SB 4 unless Texas agrees to refrain from enforcing the law,” the letter stated.

“The United States is committed to both securing the border and ensuring the processing of noncitizens consistent with the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). SB 4 is contrary to these goals.”

Set to take effect on March 4, 2024, SB 4 creates a process whereby illegal immigrants can be subjected to charges ranging from misdemeanors to felonies for crossing the southern border without authorization. In addition, defendants can agree to leave the country in a quasi-deportation procedure in lieu of prosecution.

Boynton contended that SB 4 “intrudes into a field that is occupied by the federal government.” He said that Congress has already devised a “comprehensive” process to remove illegal aliens and impose consequences on those who break immigration laws.

The letter said that SB 4 could impede the U.S. government’s ability to grant protection to asylum seekers and “undermines” relationships with other countries.

“Because SB 4 is unconstitutional and will disrupt the federal government’s operations, we request that Texas forbear in its enforcement. To the extent you believe there are any facts or law supporting the validity of SB 4, we urge you to promptly bring them to our attention,” Boynton wrote.

State Sen. Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) warned his Republican colleagues before they passed the legislation that it violates the separation of powers. Birdwell is a staunch border security proponent and was the author of an earlier version of the bill containing a different enforcement mechanism that did not include deportation-esque protocols.

Other opponents of the law have said it will open the door to racial profiling, excessive prosecution, and other abuses of power.

Abbott and others seeking to crack down on illegal immigration at the state level believe that the state’s actions are necessary to deter illegal immigration amid record levels of unlawful border crossings. Illegal immigrants were encountered over three million times along the southern border during Fiscal Year 2023.

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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