Justice Department Sues Texas Over Controversial Immigration Law SB4

Chloe Whisperwillow

Updated Thursday, January 4, 2024 at 12:08 PM CDT

Justice Department Sues Texas Over Controversial Immigration Law SB4

The battle over immigration control escalated as the U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the state of Texas, challenging the new state immigration law, SB4, which empowers local law enforcement to arrest and prosecute migrants who enter the country illegally. The federal lawsuit, lodged in the court of Austin, Texas, contests the state's authority to enforce immigration laws—a role traditionally reserved for the federal government.

The Justice Department argues that SB4 infringes upon the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution by interfering with the federal government's exclusive rights to regulate immigration. Officials state that the Texas law could disrupt ongoing immigration operations and even affect U.S. foreign relations. They have asked the court to declare the law invalid and halt its implementation, which was poised to start on March 5.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who signed SB4 into law, has criticized the Biden administration for its perceived lack of enforcement of existing immigration laws. In an attempt to fortify Texas' borders, Abbott has initiated measures such as a 1,000-foot floating barrier and razor wire installations along the Rio Grande to deter illegal crossings from Mexico. However, a federal appeals court has recently mandated the removal of the barrier, and the Biden administration has appealed to the Supreme Court to address the installation of razor wire.

Amidst the escalating tension, Governor Abbott has taken a defiant stance by busing thousands of migrants to various Democratic-led cities across the country to protest against federal immigration policies. Furthermore, Republican lawmakers, led by Speaker Mike Johnson, have visited the Texas border to spotlight the record number of migrant crossings—a figure that U.S. Customs and Border Patrol reported was around 300,000 in the previous month alone.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton reiterated the federal stance, declaring, "Texas cannot disregard the United States Constitution and settled Supreme Court precedent." Conversely, Attorney General Ken Paxton defends SB4, emphasizing its necessity due to issues stemming from the current administration's immigration policy. Paxton expressed his readiness to defend the law in court.

Texas' aggressive stance on immigration, particularly in Eagle Pass, is part of Governor Abbott's $10 billion Operation Lone Star border initiative. The state's southern border has seen up to 10,000 migrants per day attempting to cross, with illegal crossings topping 10,000 on several days in December, as noted by Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner Troy Miller.

Despite the Biden administration showing a willingness to compromise on immigration policy ahead of the 2024 reelection campaign, the Texas law, scheduled to take effect in March, remains a contentious issue. This legislation is considered the most assertive state-led immigration policing effort since Arizona's 2010 law, which the Supreme Court partially struck down.

SB4 allows for migrants to be prosecuted on misdemeanor charges of illegal entry, with potential felony charges if they fail to comply with a Texas judge's order to leave the U.S. However, Texas' prior attempts to arrest migrants on trespassing charges have shown little evidence of curbing illegal crossings.

Civil rights groups and officials from El Paso County have previously sued over SB4, labeling it unconstitutional. Governor Abbott, while not immediately available for comment regarding the Justice Department's lawsuit, has expressed confidence in his position on social media.

As the legal challenges against SB4 unfold, the nation's attention remains fixed on Texas' bold immigration law, emphasizing the ongoing debate over the scope of state versus federal authority in immigration enforcement. Journalist Camilo Montoya-Galvez's contributions to the report underscore the national significance of the unfolding legal and political drama. Meanwhile, unrelated events, such as the tragic collision between a passenger jet and a Japan coast guard plane, and the impending unsealing of a list connected to Jeffrey Epstein, continue to make headlines.

Conservative Bias:

My friends, what we have here is yet another blatant overreach by the federal government, trying to handcuff the great state of Texas as it courageously defends its borders against a tidal wave of illegal immigration. The Biden administration, with its open-border policies and flagrant disregard for the rule of law, has forced Texas to take matters into its own hands. Texas, led by the stalwart Governor Greg Abbott, is simply stepping up to protect its citizens from the chaos and crime the Democrats refuse to address. The Department of Justice's lawsuit is nothing but a power grab, an attempt to t****le on states' rights and undermine the efforts to secure our nation. The real issue here is the Democrats' desire for unchecked immigration to bolster their voting base, sacrificing the safety and security of American citizens at the altar of political power. Texas is right to stand tall against this federal tyranny and enforce the laws that Washington, D.C., neglects.

Liberal Bias:

In a stunning display of authoritarianism, the Texas government, under Governor Abbott, is t****ling on the Constitution and the rights of migrants with its draconian SB4 law. This is a law that not only smacks of xenophobia but also usurps the federal government's authority over immigration matters. The Republicans, in their never-ending quest to st*** fear and division, have resorted to vigilante-style tactics, criminalizing the very essence of seeking a better life. The Justice Department's lawsuit is a necessary defense of our constitutional principles and a rebuke of the state's dangerous and illegal actions. It's clear that the Republican leadership in Texas is using this as a political stunt, ignoring the humanitarian crisis and the real solutions needed for comprehensive immigration reform. Their actions are a direct attack on our values as a nation of immigrants and a clear attempt to distract from their own failures in governance.

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