Home World News U.S. Justice Dept drags Taxes to court

U.S. Justice Dept drags Taxes to court

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[Reuters]A U.S. flag fluters at the Paso del Norte International Border bridge, in Ciudad Juarez
[Reuters]

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Wednesday sued Texas over its new law known as SB 4 that makes illegal immigration a state crime, arguing that the federal government, not the state, has “exclusive authority” to enforce immigration law.

The state’s “efforts, through SB 4, intrude on the federal government’s exclusive authority to regulate the entry and removal of noncitizens, frustrate the United States’ immigration operations and proceedings, and interfere with U.S. foreign relations,” said the DOJ in its lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. “SB 4 is invalid and must be enjoined,” the complaint said. “SB 4 is clearly unconstitutional,” Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said in a statement. “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 Biden administration also accused the Texas law, which is set to take effect in March, of preventing immigrants from requesting asylum in the country, a civil right they have regardless of how they enter the United States.

Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the highly controversial bill to police immigration on Dec. 18. Under the law, state law enforcement officers will be authorized to arrest migrants who cross the border illegally. Afterward, the detained migrants could either agree to a Texas judge’s order to leave the country or be prosecuted on misdemeanor charges carrying a punishment of up to six months in prison. Repeat offenders could face more serious felony charges with a punishment of two to 20 years in jail. Two immigrant rights groups, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Texas Civil Rights Project, filed a lawsuit against the state law with an Austin federal court later last month. They are on behalf of El Paso County, the largest border county in Texas, as well as two other immigrant rights organizations — El Paso-based Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center and Austin-based American Gateways. Up to 30 former U.S. immigration judges, who served under both Republican and Democratic administrations, signed a letter last month condemning the measure as unconstitutional.

U.S. law enforcement agents dealt with more than 300,000 migrants in December alone at the U.S.-Mexico border, hitting an all-time monthly high, according to internal government data obtained by CBS News. In the fiscal year that ended in September, there were more than 2.4 million apprehensions across the U.S.-Mexico border, breaking the record of 2.3 million from a year earlier.

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