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Texas Congressmen Split on State’s Authority to Enforce Immigration Law as DOJ Clashes with Abbott in Court

Greg Abbott with Congress Members (Credits: Houston Chronicle)

As the Justice Department’s challenge against Texas’ immigration law, S.B. 4, was deliberated in a New Orleans federal court, the conversation around states’ rights and federal authority in immigration law enforcement heated up.

Texas Representatives Henry Cuellar, a Democrat, and Tony Gonzales, a Republican, shared their views on Fox News, acknowledging the immigration crisis yet displaying differing perspectives on Texas’ legislative actions.

S.B. 4 has drawn significant attention, with its provisions allowing state Public Safety officers to detain and deport undocumented migrants sparking debate.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott with Congressmen (Credits: UPI)

The law’s constitutionality was the focal point of discussions before a three-judge panel, including judges appointed by Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump. Questions arose regarding the historic role of states in immigration enforcement and the breadth of S.B. 4’s reach.

Cuellar understood Governor Abbott’s frustrations with federal immigration policies but emphasized the federal government’s traditional role in managing immigration matters.

He advocated for cooperation among federal, state, and local governments to effectively address the issue, highlighting the importance of enforcing laws against violent incidents involving migrants.

With the end of the pandemic-era Title 42 border restrictions, Cuellar pointed to Title VIII’s provisions for expedited removal as a potential framework for more effectively managing the immigration crisis.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott (Credits: Newsweek)

He also called for reforms to asylum laws to prevent excessive leniency that allows many asylum seekers to remain in the U.S. temporarily despite a high rejection rate of asylum claims by judges years later.

On the other hand, Gonzales supported Texas’ proactive stance on immigration enforcement, critiquing the Biden administration’s approach and praising Governor Abbott’s efforts to ensure community safety.

He conveyed the sentiments of Texans who feel let down by the federal government’s handling of border security, drawing parallels between strict enforcement of tax laws on U.S. citizens and perceived laxity in border law enforcement against undocumented migrants.

This debate underscores a broader national conversation on immigration policy and enforcement, highlighting the tension between state initiatives and federal authority in addressing migration and border security complications.

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