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Judge Stops Texas Law Aimed at Curbing Illegal Border Crossings

A federal judge in Texas on Thursday blocked the Republican-led state's new law giving officials broad powers to arrest, prosecute and order the removal of people who illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border. U.S. District Judge David Ezra agreed with the Biden administration that the law known as SB4 interferes with the federal government's powers under the U.S. Constitution to enforce U.S. immigration laws and the ability of migrants to apply for asylum and other humanitarian aid. Ezra blocked the law, which was set to take effect next Tuesday pending the outcome of the Biden administration's lawsuit challenging its legality, Reuters reports.

The Texas law would make it a state crime to enter or re-enter Texas illegally from a foreign country and would give state and local law enforcement the power to arrest and prosecute violators. It also would allow state judges to order that individuals leave the U.S. The state's adoption of the law escalated an ongoing battle between Texas and the federal government over control of the southern border. Ezra cited a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down key provisions of an Arizona immigration law. The court in that decision said states cannot make laws that interfere with the federal government's ability to enforce complex U.S. immigration laws. Ezra also rejected claims by Texas that the growing number of migrants amounts to an "invasion" triggering the state's constitutional right to defend itself and secure its borders. "Even accepting that some small number of immigrants do traffic drugs or have cartel affiliations, Texas cannot genuinely maintain that noncitizens crossing the border are an organized military force aimed at conquest or plunder," wrote Ezra, an appointee of Republican former President Ronald Reagan.


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