At the US-Mexico Border
Members of the Texas Army National Guard extend razor wire to inhibit migrants from crossing, as seen from Ciudad Juárez. Reuters

The Department of Justice has threatened Texas to sue if it moves forward with SB4, the law allowing state officials to arrest and deport migrants crossing the border illegally, NBC News reported on Friday.

The letter argues that the law, signed by governor Greg Abbott this month, is unconstitutional and implementing it would result in a federal lawsuit as it "effectively creates a separate state immigration scheme by imposing criminal penalties for violations of federal provisions on unlawful entry and reentry into the United States."

According to the Department of Justice, the law violates the Constitution because the federal government, and not the states, are responsible for controlling the country's international borders. Texas has until January 3 to confirm it won't enforce the new law, which is set to go into effect in March.

Otherwise, the DoJ said, it will ""will pursue all appropriate legal remedies to ensure that Texas does not interfere with the functions of the federal government." Texas authorities, however, anticipated they won't comply unless ordered by a court.

Abbott spokesperson Renae Eze said in a statement that the state is "prepared to take this fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to protect Texans and Americans from President Biden's open border policies."

The Texas governor claimed that some eight million people have crossed the border illegally since Biden, a Democrat, took office in January 2021. Abbott defended the new law as constitutional, saying Texas had been left to "fend for itself."

Governor Greg Abbott
Texas Governor Greg Abbott VERONICA CARDENAS/Reuters

NBC News recalled that the Abbott administration has not been successful at the time of getting its attempts to uphold, considering two recent rulings against them: it was ordered to remove a floating barrier of buoys in a section of the Río Grande and also saw a rejection of its efforts to prevent U.S. Customs and Border Protection from removing razor wire near the border.

The new law, known as Senate Bill 4 (or SB4) not only authorizes police to detain people they suspect crossed the Rio Grande between ports of entry, but also arrest undocumented immigrants anywhere in the state.

The bill also makes it a crime to reenter or be "at any time found" in Texas after having previously been removed from the country under SB 4 or by federal authorities.

Abbott has also been sending buses full of migrants to Democratic-led sanctuary cities as part of his "Lone Star" operation. So far, over 200,000 migrants have arrived in New York, Chicago and Detroit alone. And last week, Texas sent a plane with migrants to Chicago for the first time.

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