Biden Administration Challenges Texas Immigration Law in Federal Lawsuit

The Biden administration has initiated legal action against Texas over its contentious immigration law, Senate Bill 4 (SB 4), which grants local law enforcement the power to arrest migrants. This move follows a previous warning from the Justice Department, indicating a willingness to sue Texas if it did not retract the measure. The clash between President Joe Biden and Texas Governor Greg Abbott intensifies as they grapple with the handling of the US-Mexico border.

SB 4, signed into law by Abbott in December, has drawn criticism from the White House, deeming it "incredibly extreme." The law, set to take effect in March, not only allows local law enforcement to detain migrants but also empowers judges to issue orders for their removal from the United States.

In its lawsuit, the Justice Department contends that SB 4 infringes upon the federal government's "exclusive authority" to enforce immigration law. The complaint, filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas, asserts that the law hampers federal immigration operations, interferes with proceedings, and disrupts US foreign relations. The Justice Department seeks an injunction to block the implementation of SB 4, citing its unconstitutional nature.

Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta emphasized the unconstitutionality of SB 4, stating, "Under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution and longstanding Supreme Court precedent, states cannot adopt immigration laws that interfere with the framework enacted by Congress." The Justice Department remains committed to upholding the Constitution and enforcing federal law.

The Biden administration's legal action against Texas is the second this week, underscoring the escalating tension between the federal government and the state. Earlier in the week, the administration sought Supreme Court intervention to remove razor wire installed by Texas along the US-Mexico border. The dispute revolves around the Border Patrol's authority to cut concertina wire on the banks of the Rio Grande. Texas sued last year to halt the wire cutting, arguing that it damages state property and compromises security to aid migrants. A federal appeals court temporarily halted the practice, prompting the Justice Department to file an emergency application with the Supreme Court, urging a reversal of the decision.

As the legal battles unfold, the conflict between the Biden administration and Texas over immigration policies continues to highlight the broader debate on states' authority in regulating immigration and the federal government's exclusive role in shaping and enforcing immigration laws. 

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