Senate Bill Could Potentially Allow State and Local Law Enforcement Officials to Enforce Immigration Laws

Senate Bill Could Potentially Allow State and Local Law Enforcement Officials to Enforce Immigration Laws

Michelle Rosenberg
Michelle Rosenberg
|
October 5, 2023

Washington, D.C.- Senator Josh Hawley from Missouri (R) filed a bill yesterday that would permit state and local law officials to enforce national immigration laws.

Senator Hawley’s State Border Defense Act aims to circumvent President Joe Biden’s policies regarding immigration law enforcement and empower States to unilaterally enforce the same.

“Our southern border is overrun. Joe Biden’s dangerous open-border policies are making it worse every single day, leaving states like Missouri to deal with the consequences. Since the federal government refuses to enforce our immigration laws, states must be able to,” said Senator Hawley.

The State Border Defense Act would allow states to deport illegal immigrants from the country, prosecute illegal entries, and construct barriers on federal lands or waters along the southern border.

The Act also explicitly overturns a 2012 decision of the United States Supreme Court in Arizona v. United States that struck down state laws enabling state officials to enforce federal immigration laws. The court did not question the constitutionality of such laws, but rather found that they had to be invalidated due to conflicting with federal immigration statutes.

Such will no longer be the case, as the act expressly “abrogates the 2012 decision of the United States Supreme Court in Arizona v. United States”.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported the highest monthly total in border encounters in 2023-a record 232,972 encounters in August. Conservatives have largely criticized the Biden administration’s lackluster immigration enforcement efforts as enticing illegal immigration.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently stated he would fulfill Former President Donald Trump's unrealized promise of Making Mexico pay for a border wall along the southwest border.

“I will fulfill the promise that Donald Trump made in 2016 to build the wall and make Mexico pay for it,” claimed DeSantis.

DeSantis, similarly to Hawley, has also been an outspoken proponent of empowering states to enforce immigration law.

“And good reform federally would be deputized states to enforce immigration law. Texas should be able to send them back to Mexico or back to these other countries,” added DeSantis.

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Michelle Rosenberg

Michelle Rosenberg

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