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Biden And Red States Are On Immigration Collision Course Heading For Supreme Court

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From the Daily Caller News Foundation

By JASON HOPKINS

 

The Biden administration is currently waging a legal campaign against Republican-led states, arguing their laws that effectively restrict illegal immigration are unconstitutional.

The Department of Justice has so far filed lawsuits against three different states for enacting laws that largely empower police to enforce immigration rules. However, these state leaders, in the backdrop of an unprecedented border crisis, say they have no choice but to take up the issue themselves because the Biden administration won’t — and other Republican states may soon follow suit.

Texas, Iowa, and Oklahoma have all signed similar bills into law in recent months that make it a state crime to be an illegal immigrant. Texas Senate Bill 4, Iowa Senate File 2340, and Oklahoma House Bill 4156 empower their law enforcement to arrest illegal immigrants and bestow various penalties for unlawful presence in the country.

“Due to the abdication of this administration’s duty to enforce the law, states are trying to protect themselves,” Matt Crapo, a senior attorney with the Immigration Reform Law Institute, explained to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “They are trying to do so by mirroring federal law, enforcing the same type of laws if this administration was enforcing the law.”

The Biden administration, however, argues these laws are unconstitutional as they intrude on the federal government’s sole authority to enforce immigration law.

Whether or not these states can enforce their laws will likely depend on the Supreme Court. The law passed in Texas, the first of the three to take up this approach, will likely end up back into the nation’s highest court.

The Immigration Reform Law Institute, a legal organization that supports stricter immigration enforcement, filed an amicus brief in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of Texas SB4. Crapo said his organization plans to file similar briefs supporting the Iowa and Oklahoma bills once those states file in opposition to preliminary injunctions imposed by federal courts.

IRLI argued in its Texas brief that, while SB4 “parallels” similar federal immigration offenses, the law does not interfere with the federal government’s power to decide which classes of aliens are admissible or removable.

However, not all legal experts agree the Texas law adheres to the Constitution.

“SB4 is cruel, inhumane, and clearly unconstitutional,” Kate Melloy Goettelsenior legal director at the American Immigration Council, said in March statement. “All these bills could result in significant civil rights abuses, leading to widespread arrests and deportations by state actors without key federal protections.”

“Our hope is that SB4 is ultimately blocked in court; otherwise, this sets a disastrous precedent,” Goettel continued.

Immigration experts aren’t sure how the Supreme Court will ultimately rule.

“It’s sort of an open question as to whether the Supreme Court is going to allow Texas to criminalize illegal entry into Texas,” Art Arthur of the Center for Immigration Studies said to the DCNF, noting how this case is fundamentally different than the lawsuit against a 2010 Arizona law that criminalized illegal immigration status, but was largely struck down. “Texas’ argument is ‘look, the federal government doesn’t completely occupy the field with respect to this crime because trespassing is an essential state crime and this is basically a trespassing offense.’”

Arthur noted that the Texas legislation is fundamentally different to the Iowa and Oklahoma laws, meaning potentially very different outcomes in their court challenges. Unlike Oklahoma and Iowa, Texas borders Mexico and has more standing to enforce trespassing.

“The Supreme Court’s decision in SB4 will give us a lot of idea of how much vitality these other laws have, but these other laws are distinguishable from SB4,” he said. “For that reason, if the states are serious about this, they will have to litigate it all the way up to the Supreme Court.”

Similar to what sponsors of this legislation have argued, Arthur said that the passages of these state laws are not “political stunts,” but cries for help and assertions that the Biden administration has abandoned immigration enforcement.

Federal immigration data show that illegal immigration is at historic levels.

Border Patrol agents have had more than 1,171,000 encounters with illegal immigrants this fiscal year, according to the latest data by Customs and Border Protection. Well over six million such encounters have been made since the beginning of President Joe Biden’s White House tenure.

The massive influx of illegal immigrants has been followed by high-profile crimes, such as the killing of a Georgia nursing student allegedly at the hands of a Venezuelan illegal immigrant and the attempted breach of the Quantico Marine Base in Virginia allegedly by two Jordanian nationals living unlawfully in the country. A report by a New Jersey lawmaker found that his state is shelling out over $7 billion annually to cover the costs of illegal immigrants.

For these reasons, Republican state leaders say they have no choice but to address the crisis themselves — even if the Biden administration threatens to sue them for it.

“The Biden administration refuses to do their job, so we need to do it,” Louisiana state senator Valarie Hodges said to the DCNF. Hodges is the sponsor of a bill that, if signed into law, will also make illegal immigration a state crime.

Her legislation, Senate Bill 388, makes illegal entry punishable by up to one year in prison and a $4,000 fine for the first offense, and up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine for a second offense. The bill has already passed both chambers in the state legislature, and needs procedural approval from the state senate before heading to the governor’s desk.

Much like the governors and attorneys general of the states already sued by the Department of Justice, the state senator appeared unfazed at the prospect of a court challenge.

“When the federal government won’t do their job, what course do we have?” Hodges asked. “We’re going to collapse if we don’t do something. I believe we are within our constitutional boundaries to do this.”

“Maybe we should sue them for not doing their job,” she added.

The Department of Justice did not respond to a request for comment from the DCNF.

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More officials issue ‘imminent terrorist attack’ warnings

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Foreign nationals illegally enter the U.S. from Canada. 

From The Center Square

The greatest number of KSTs to ever be apprehended in U.S. history was in fiscal 2023 of 736; with the majority, 487, apprehended at the northern border, including an Iranian with terrorist ties, The Center Square first reported. In response, members of the U.S. House Northern Border Security Caucus called on DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to secure the northern border.

Another member of Congress has warned a terrorist attack is imminent. This latest warning comes after a former CIA director argued that similar warning signs exist today that did before the 9/11 terror attack occurred.

U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, told CBS News’ Face the Nation Sunday, “We are at the highest level of a possible terrorist threat” resulting from Biden administration policies.

He issued the warning after eight foreign nationals traveling from Tajikistan with ties to ISIS were arrested. The men were released into the country by U.S. Border Patrol agents after they were apprehended for illegally entering the U.S. through the southwest border.

Under current administration policy, instead of processing inadmissible illegal foreign nationals for deportation, they are released into the U.S. with “notice to appear” documents for a future immigration court date. The agents claimed they didn’t have information tying them to ISIS when they “vetted” and released them. However, “law enforcement subsequently became concerned with their presence in the U.S. and took action,” CBS News reported.

FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces and Department of Homeland Security agents arrested the eight alleged terrorists in Philadelphia, Los Angeles and New York. They are currently in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody pending removal proceedings.

Turner said, “what’s important about these reports” is that a terrorism threat is “no longer speculative, no longer hypothetical.”

He also referred to warnings issued by FBI Director Christopher Wray, who in April testified before Congress that Islamic terrorist threats and national security threats were coming through the border. In March, he testified that smuggling organizations with ties to ISIS were coming through the border and the FBI was investigating, The Center Square reported.

Turner said his committee members “have con-concurred on the intelligence that we’re seeing that as a result of the administration’s policies allowing people to cross the border unvetted. We have terrorists that are actively working inside the United States that are a threat to Americans.”

His warning came after an Inspector General report found that Department of Homeland Security agencies, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Border Patrol, are not vetting illegal foreign nationals due to a range of problems, The Center Square reported.

“This administration, by their own policy, are then allowing those individuals in instead of fully vetting them, fully understanding what the risk is the United States and for the fact that they’re letting them in, and … they’re entering the United States through the southern border illegally. And that’s what the threat is,” Turner said. “That’s what Director Wray is identifying, and is bringing forward. This administration’s policies are directly resulting in people who were in the United States illegally, who have ties to terrorist groups and organizations, and this is a threat.”

Former deputy director of the CIA Mike Morel also recently warned that a terrorist attack could occur in the next few months ahead of the election. In an op-ed published by Foreign Affairs, he drew parallels to warnings issued ahead of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to today, saying the “terrorism warnings lights are blinking red again.”

Terrorist threat warnings also continue after GOP House members have demanded answers about U.S. military base breaches by Jordanian and Chinese men after they illegally entered the country, The Center Square reported.

Republican Senators have also warned that because of President “Joe Biden’s open border policies, our country is really at an increased threat for a terrorist attack,” calling on him to close the border.

After claiming for years the border was secure and no border crisis existed, Biden just announced a new “border security” plan. Border experts pointed out it would codify policies he implemented that created the crisis and will allow another two million illegal entries, The Center Square reported.

Terrorist threat concerns continue to mount as CBP agents have apprehended a record number of known or suspected terrorists (KSTs), with the majority at the northern border, The Center Square first reported.

The greatest number of KSTs to ever be apprehended in U.S. history was in fiscal 2023 of 736; with the majority, 487, apprehended at the northern border, including an Iranian with terrorist ties, The Center Square first reported. In response, members of the U.S. House Northern Border Security Caucus called on DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to secure the northern border.

This fiscal year through May 15, the majority of KSTs, 173, have been apprehended at the northern border, according to CBP data.

Former acting director of ICE Tom Homan has been warning for some time of a likely terrorist attack because of Biden administration policies. He told The Center Square that Biden is the only president in U.S. history to “unsecure the border on purpose. … and has created the greatest national security crisis since 9/11.”

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More than 12 million illegal border crossers since fiscal 2021

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