The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Wednesday that it has filed a lawsuit against Texas in response to a new border security law that makes unlawful entry into the state a crime.
Senate Bill 4, signed by Gov. Greg Abbott and scheduled to take effect on March 5, also allows state law enforcement officers to apprehend those suspected of breaking the law, as reported by The Dallas Express.
The 22-page complaint was filed in an Austin federal court and states that the DOJ filed the lawsuit to help the U.S. “preserve its exclusive authority under federal law to regulate the entry and removal of noncitizens.”
“Texas’s Senate Bill 4 (SB 4) creates purported state immigration crimes for unlawful entry and unlawful reentry, permits state judges and magistrates to order the removal of noncitizens from the country, and mandates that state officials carry out those removal orders,” added the DOJ in the filing.
“But Texas cannot run its own immigration system. Its efforts, through SB 4, 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.”
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton said in a news release about the lawsuit that “Texas cannot disregard the United States Constitution and settled Supreme Court precedent.”
“We have brought this action to ensure that Texas adheres to the framework adopted by Congress and the Constitution for regulation of immigration.”
These comments are similar to those he wrote in a letter sent to Abbott prior to the lawsuit in which Boynton threatened legal action if the state enforced the law.
The letter placed a January 3 deadline for Abbott to confirm that the new law will not be enforced, with Boynton writing that a failure to confirm will result in the DOJ pursuing “all appropriate legal remedies to ensure that Texas does not interfere with the functions of the federal government,” as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
Abbott posted on social media after the lawsuit was filed and said that the federal government is suing the state because he “signed a law making it illegal for an illegal immigrant to enter or attempt to enter Texas directly from a foreign nation.”
“Texas is the only government in America trying to stop illegal immigration,” remarked the governor in the post.