Texas officials authorize the arrest and return of migrants to the border

Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott, Texas Republican Governor, authorized Thursday state officials and National Guardsmen for migrants to be detained and transported to federal ports of entry at the border with Mexico by Greg Abbott.

NewsEditor
NewsEditor
08 July 2022 Friday 21:19
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Texas officials authorize the arrest and return of migrants to the border

Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott, Texas Republican Governor, authorized Thursday state officials and National Guardsmen for migrants to be detained and transported to federal ports of entry at the border with Mexico by Greg Abbott. This is the latest in his ongoing feud with Biden over immigration policy.

Abbott signed a directive that gave the Texas National Guard (and Department of Public Safety) the power to apprehend migrants entering the U.S. through ports of entry, or to "commit other violations of federal laws." This order gave state officials the authority to "return these migrants to their ports of entry," which are managed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a federal agency.

Although Abbott has already signed other directives that target Biden's border policies, Thursday's order is undoubtedly the most dangerous. It defies long-standing legal precedents that state only the federal government has the right to enforce immigration laws.

On Thursday, the scope and timeframe of Abbott's order were not clear. However, legal challenges could block it. This follows a directive from Abbott last year, which instructed state officials to stop any vehicles suspected of transporting migrants freed from federal custody.

The Justice Department is the federal government's legal representative and a spokeswoman declined to comment on Abbott’s proclamation. Representatives from the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees federal immigration and border agencies in the United States, referred questions the White House.

Abdullah Hasan, White House spokesperson, stated that "Governor Abbott’s record on immigration does not give us confidence in the plans he has made now." Hasan also criticised other U.S.-Mexico border operations that the Texas governor launched in the last year.

Hasan stated that Operation Lone Star, which put the national guardsmen in danger and law enforcement in serious situations, cost $1 billion per week to inspect trucks crossing Texas. There was no evidence of drug or human trafficking.

U.S. immigration law grants the federal government, not the states, the power to detain and interview migrants in the country illegally.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that an Arizona law was partially invalidated that allowed the state to arrest and punish unauthorized immigrants.

Representatives of Abbott, Texas National Guard, and the Department of Public Safety declined to answer questions regarding the legal authority that would allow state officials to arrest, detain, and transport migrants in accordance with Thursday's order.

Abbott expressed concern about the handling by the Biden administration of record numbers of migrants crossing the southern border in the past year. He also claimed that the federal government had "abandoned" an American Constitution provision that required it to protect states against "invasion."

Abbott mentioned Texas laws regarding disaster response and the ability to charge the military with law enforcement. Abbott also claimed that the 2012 Supreme Court decision on Arizona's immigration law allowed for state arrests of immigrant when there was "reasonable suspicion" of illegal entry or other immigration crimes.

Theresa Cardinal Brown is a former DHS immigration officer under Presidents George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. She said that she expected Abbott's edicts to be challenged in federal courts because it relies on an "untested legal principle."

"Invasion" is a very specific term. It would refer to an organized group of people invading another country, as Cardinal Brown explained.

Abbott's order was legal, but it did not address details about how and when state officials would use their new authority to arrest illegal immigrants.

Representatives of the Texas National Guard as well as the Department of Public Safety declined to answer questions about whether they intended to use the authority Abbott claimed to grant them, what groups of migrants they would arrest, and when.

Representatives also didn't say whether state officials planned or coordinated with federal immigration officials in order to implement the directive. DHS didn't say whether DHS intended to allow migrants to be returned to Texas by federal border officials.

Ericka Miller, the press secretary for Texas Department of Public Safety, stated that the agency was acting under Abbott's direction, but she couldn't "discuss operational details."

Abbott is running for reelection in this year's election and has made himself known as a prominent opponent to President Biden’s immigration-and border policies.

Abbott has over the past year authorized the arrest of migrants under state trespassing, deployed Texas National Guard units at the U.S. Mexico border, stopped licensing shelters in federal care for migrant children, and ordered the transport of asylum-seekers from Washington, D.C.

Abbott ordered inspections of all commercial trucks entering the U.S. this spring before suspending them. Business leaders, the Biden administration, and some Republicans highlighted their negative economic effects, which slow down cross-border traffic.

Texas also brought numerous lawsuits against Mr. Biden’s immigration agenda. This convinced conservative federal judges to reinstate Trump-era policies and stop several programs.

As Republicans in other states, and in Congress, Abbott also faults the Biden administration's unprecedented levels of migrant apprehendeds over the past 12 months. He accuses it of being lax in border enforcement.

However, the Biden administration argues that the historic migration episode was fueled by political repression, economic instability, hunger and violence in certain countries in the Western Hemisphere, which have seen record-breaking numbers of their citizens travel north.

The U.S. border officials have processed more than 1.5 million migrants so far in fiscal 2022. This fiscal year ends in September. A total that could surpass the fiscal 2021 record of 1.7 million migrant encounters, according to DHS data.

According to data, approximately 750,000 migrants were processed in this fiscal year. They were expelled to Mexico and their home countries under Title 42. This public health law was first invoked by former President Donald Trump. The Biden administration has been ordered to continue indefinitely under Title 42.

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