Abbott Discusses DOJ Lawsuit With Fox News

Governor Greg Abbott | Image by Carrington Tatum/Shutterstock

During an appearance on Fox News this past weekend, Gov. Greg Abbott discussed a lawsuit the Department of Justice filed against Texas over the latter’s border security law that criminalizes unlawful entry into the state.

SB 4, which Abbott signed alongside three other border security bills, is scheduled to take effect on March 5. It will allow state law enforcement officers to arrest individuals suspected of entering the state unlawfully.

The lawsuit from the DOJ argues that “Texas cannot run its own immigration system,” claiming that SB 4 would “intrude on the federal government’s exclusive authority to regulate the entry and removal of noncitizens, frustrate the United States’ immigration operations and proceedings, and interfere with U.S. foreign relations,” as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

Abbott spoke about the lawsuit with host Shannon Bream on Fox News Sunday, where he stated that a previous lawsuit should not affect the current litigation against Texas.

While speaking with Abbott, Bream referenced Arizona v. United States, a 2012 lawsuit revolving around a similar state law meant to prevent unlawful migration.

Bream asked Abbott why the lawsuit against Texas is different. The governor replied that SB 4 “was drafted in a way that does not conflict with federal law.”

“The Arizona law did conflict with federal law. The state of Texas law does not conflict with federal law, and hence, that’s one reason why we will avoid the preemption allegation made by the federal government,” explained Abbott.

“They rely upon what’s called field preemption. And what that means is the laws passed by Congress preempt the field or the totality of the ability for states to do something different; however, that field preemption that the federal government is relying upon presumes that the federal government would be enforcing the law passed by Congress.”

Abbott claimed that the federal government has not been enforcing these laws, adding that it has actually been “acting contrary to the laws passed.”

“That creates the opening for Texas to be able to enact a law that simply enforces the very same laws passed by the United States Congress,” he said.

This lawsuit comes amidst a growing crisis at the southern border, with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reporting record numbers of encounters with unlawful migrants and historic levels of unlawful migration.

CBP reported more than 300,000 encounters with unlawful migrants in December, which broke the previous monthly record of 269,735 encounters that occurred in September.

The surge of unlawful migrants at the southern border prompted Texas lawmakers to draft SB 4, which has drawn mixed reactions from people around the state.

Abbott has continued to advocate for the new law, stating just before signing it that it will “help stop the tidal wave of illegal entry into Texas.”

Still, some have expressed concern about the legislation.

The American Civil Liberties Union announced shortly after the signing that it would be suing the state, alleging that SB 4 “flouts federal immigration law while harming Texans, in particular Brown and Black communities.”

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