The Biden and Abbott administrations clash in court that will decide whether to endorse the law that allows Texas to detain and expel migrants - NewssMex

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miércoles, 20 de marzo de 2024

The Biden and Abbott administrations clash in court that will decide whether to endorse the law that allows Texas to detain and expel migrants

EFE

The controversial Texas immigration law, known as SB4, which allows the state to arrest and deport migrants who have crossed irregularly, returned to an appeals court this Wednesday, which will have to decide whether or not it is authorized.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of the United States issued an order that gave the green light for the law to come into effect. This decision lasted only a few hours, as the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (based in New Orleans) intervened and prohibited its implementation until its magistrates issue a definitive ruling.

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The panel, composed of three federal judges, met to hear the arguments of the lawyers for Governor Greg Abbott and the Joe Biden administration, who are at odds over the big question of who has the power to enforce the immigration laws of the United States, in the border area.

The new rule typifies as a state crime, with a sentence of up to six months in jail or 20 years for repeat offenders, irregular entry into Texas from Mexico.

In turn, it allows state judges to order that migrants arrested under this new crime be expelled to Mexican territory.

During this Wednesday's hearing, the lawyer representing Texas, Aaron Nielson, argued that the new legislation mimics federal law and responds to an attempt by Texas to "defend itself" in the face of a "migration crisis" at the border.

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"In Texas, we have decided that, as we are at the epicenter of this crisis, we are going to do something about it," he said.

Judge Priscilla Richman pressed the lawyer with questions about how this law would work on a day-to-day basis, considering that it allows authorities to arrest a person on suspicion of having crossed the border irregularly.

Nielson acknowledged not knowing how it would be applied in various scenarios posed by the judge, for example if the authorities arrest a migrant who has been living in the United States for years or if it is a person who is in the process of applying for asylum.

The Department of Justice lawyer, Daniel Tenny, emphasized that the courts have ruled in the past against a state applying the immigration laws of the United States, which are executed by the federal government.

Specifically, he referred to a 2012 Supreme Court decision on a similar law that Arizona tried to enact, where the justices concluded that states cannot issue their own immigration laws.

Only one of the three judges, Judge Andrew Holman, who was nominated by former Republican President Donald Trump, was more skeptical of the Biden administration's arguments.

The SB4 law, which was passed by the Texas state legislature last year, has sparked a barrage of criticism from civil rights advocacy organizations.

The ACLU organization, which joined the lawsuit to pressure against the rule, denounced that, if implemented, it would lead to local authorities acting in a discriminatory manner against Hispanic communities and ethnic and racial minorities.

The legal battle over the SB4 law is the latest example of the confrontation between the Texas government, led by Republican Governor Greg Abbott, and the federal government.

Abbott, a close ally of Trump, has accused Biden of causing a crisis at the border and launched measures to restrict the entry of migrants and asylum seekers from Mexico.

Among them, the installation of kilometers of barbed wire and the militarization of different border areas, with the deployment of the National Guard.