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Biden administration issues warning to Texas over implementation of controversial immigration law

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The Biden administration has issued a stern warning to Texas, indicating a potential lawsuit if the state proceeds with the enforcement of the strict immigration law known as SB4. This legislation, set to empower state and local law enforcement to arrest, jail, and prosecute migrants suspected of entering the U.S. unlawfully, has raised constitutional concerns.

The Justice Department, in a letter dated December 28 and obtained by CBS News, stated its intent to file a lawsuit against SB4 if Texas does not assure federal officials by January 3 that the state will refrain from implementing the law as planned in March. The letter contends that SB4 would effectively criminalize actions already illegal at the federal level, strain relations with Mexico, and hinder the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton emphasized the unconstitutionality of SB4, asserting, “Because SB 4 is unconstitutional and will disrupt the federal government’s operations, we request that Texas forbear in its enforcement.” The letter warns that failing to comply with the administration’s demand would result in the United States filing a lawsuit to enjoin the enforcement of SB4.

Governor Greg Abbott, who signed SB4 into law earlier this month, responded on social media, accusing the Biden administration of displaying “hostility to the rule of law in America.” Abbott affirmed Texas’s readiness to defend SB4 before the Supreme Court.

SB4, currently facing legal challenges from the American Civil Liberties Union, would mark a significant shift in immigration policy, making unauthorized immigration a state crime, with varying degrees of severity. If implemented, entering Texas illegally from Mexico could result in misdemeanor charges, while illegal reentry could be classified as a felony offense, carrying potential jail time and fines.

Critics of SB4 have raised concerns about potential racial profiling and its impact on public safety, arguing that the law may strain law enforcement resources and divert attention from more serious criminal matters. The Mexican government has already expressed opposition to SB4, denouncing it as an “anti-immigrant” measure and rejecting the return of migrants from Texas. As tensions escalate, the nation watches closely to see how this legal battle unfolds.

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