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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Texas can arrest illegal border crossers – Supreme Court

Judges have denied a request by the Biden administration to block the implementation of a controversial new state law

The US Supreme Court has rejected an emergency request by President Joe Biden’s administration to block enforcement of a new law in Texas that will allow police to arrest illegal migrants crossing into the state from Mexico.

The 6-3 ruling was issued on Tuesday, allowing the new law to go into effect as it continues to be challenged in the lower courts in a US Department of Justice (DOJ) lawsuit. Texas Governor Greg Abbott welcomed the decision, calling it a “clearly positive development,” but he acknowledged that the state’s legal battle with the Biden administration is not over.

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Texas has been at the forefront of a campaign by Republican-governed states to press for stronger border security amid the influx of illegal migrants across the border with Mexico.

Abbott has deployed National Guard troops and state troopers to put up barriers at the border since Biden took office in January 2021. He has defied Biden’s demands to stop such practices, saying the federal government has failed at its constitutional duty to defend the states.

The controversial new law, known as SB4, enables state and local law enforcement officers to arrest migrants who illegally cross the border. It also allows Texas judges to order the deportation of illegal immigrants. The Biden administration has insisted that only the federal government has jurisdiction over border security.

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“We fundamentally disagree with the Supreme Court’s order allowing Texas’ harmful and unconstitutional law to go into effect,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement. “SB 4 will not only make communities in Texas less safe, it will also burden law enforcement and sow chaos and confusion at our southern border.”

The high court’s ruling was divided along partisan lines, with the six judges appointed by Republican presidents voting to allow implementation of the Texas law and the three Democrat-appointed justices dissenting. “The court gives a green light to a law that will upend the longstanding federal-state balance of power and sow chaos,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a dissenting opinion.

Biden’s critics have argued that his policies have led to chaos at the border, enabling record flows of illegal migrants, including suspected terrorists, and causing increased drug trafficking. Abbott and other Republican governors have sent busloads of illegal immigrants to Democrat-ruled cities, such as New York and Chicago, to draw more attention to the border crisis. New York Mayor Eric Adams has warned that the surge in migrant arrivals is straining local government resources, threatening to “destroy” America’s largest city.