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Texas tells Supreme Court its immigration law is key to handling border crisis

The high court faces a Wednesday deadline as it considers whether Texas exceeded its authority by implementing its own migrant deportation infrastructure.

WASHINGTON (CN) — The Lone Star state returned to the Supreme Court on Monday to urge the justices to enforce a new immigration law making it a state crime to cross the border illegally. 

Last week, the Biden administration filed an emergency appeal at the court asking the justices to block the law that would give state law enforcement officers the authority to capture and deport anyone suspected of entering the country illegally. Individuals who refused to comply with deportation orders would face up to 20 years in prison. 

Texas said there was no need for such intervention, citing upcoming arguments over the case in the Fifth Circuit. The state claimed that the Biden administration isn’t doing enough to combat the border crisis, so it had to step in. 

“The state’s injury is even sharper than usual here, moreover, because Texas is the nation’s first-line defense against transnational violence and has been forced to deal with the deadly consequences of the federal government’s inability or unwillingness to protect the border,” Aaron Nielson, Texas’ solicitor general, wrote in the state’s brief

Texas rebutted the administration’s arguments that immigration enforcement authority is solely under the federal government. 

“Plaintiffs’ theory that Texas has little to no role to play in combatting the border crisis that is overwhelming the nation and Texas disproportionately is anything but equitable,” Nielson wrote. 

After Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed SB 4 into law in December, an immigration advocacy group and El Paso County sued the state. The Justice Department filed its own lawsuit against the state shortly after. The advocacy groups claim SB 4 would interfere with their aid programs for asylum seekers. 

Texas argued the Biden administration did not need the Supreme Court’s intervention because the Fifth Circuit has already expedited its consideration of the case. The appeals court will hear arguments on April 3. 

According to Texas, SB 4 only helps enforce federal immigration laws. The state said everyone benefits from this enforcement while Texas would face irreparable harm if the law was blocked. 

The state claims the Biden administration can’t challenge Texas’ law because executive policy preferences do not have supremacy over state laws. Texas argues that SB 4 doesn’t intrude on federal authority or conflict with any federal statute. 

The Biden administration said regulating noncitizens falls under federal authority because the country needs to speak with one voice on matters involving foreign affairs. 

Justice Samuel Alito extended a lower court pause shortly after the case arrived on the justices’ emergency docket. Alito’s stay ends on March 13.

Follow @KelseyReichmann
Categories / Appeals, Immigration

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