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Biden administration warns Texas against arrests, deportation of migrants

2023-12-30 17:52:06

The Biden administration warned Texas Republican Governor Greg Abott on Thursday that legal action will ensue if the state rolls out legislation that allows authorities to arrest, jail, prosecute and deport migrants who enter American soil illegally.

In a missive addressed to Abbott, the US Justice Department said that the latest law on illegal migrants was unconstitutional and “contrary to the US commitment of ensuring the processing of non-US citizens is consistent with the Immigration and Nationality Act”.

The letter, as obtained by news agency CBS news, stated, “SB4 is preempted and violates the United States Constitution. Accordingly, the United States intends to file suit to enjoin the enforcement of SB4 unless Texas agrees to refrain from enforcing the law.”

The warning as Texas has enacted a law, dubbed SB4 or Senate Bill 4, is part of the state’s Operation Lone Star. It goes into effect on March 5 and is considered one of the strictest immigration laws passed in American history. The law, SB4 i.e. Texas Senate Bill 4, was signed and translated into a law by Abbott on December 18. It makes illegally entering the US from Mexico a state crime and authorises police to arrest persons suspected of crossing the Rio Grande between ports of entry.

Migrants caught illegally entering the US would stare at a Class B misdemeanour charge carrying a punishment of up to six months imprisonment. A repeat offender would be subject to a second-degree felony charge punishable by up to 20 years in jail. However, SB4 allows Texas judges to drop charges against such migrants if they agree to deportation.

Now, the Biden administration has challenged these stringent laws, stating that SB4 could lead to migrants with legitimate asylum claims being deported to countries where they would face “persecution or torture”. The Biden administration has asked Abbott to confirm that Texas will not enforce the new law by January 3.

Rebutting the letter, the Republican Texas Governor, on X, said, “The Biden Administration, not only refuses to enforce current US immigration laws, they now want to stop Texas from enforcing laws against illegal immigration. I have never seen such hostility to the Rule of Law in America. Biden is destroying America. Texas is trying to save it.”

Meanwhile, Abbott’s representative said in an official statement that Texas was prepared to take this fight all the way to the US Supreme Court to protect Texans and Americans from US President Biden’s open border policies.”

Published By:

Srishti Jha

Published On:

Dec 30, 2023

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