Rep. Biggs’ bill would allow states to pass immigration enforcement laws, in response to ‘historic invasion’
FIRST ON FOX: Legislation introduced Friday by Rep. Andy Biggs would give states the power to pass and enact immigration laws that match federal laws – to combat what he described as a “historic invasion” of illegal immigrants in the United States
The State Immigration Enforcement Act would allow states and localities to “enact, implement, and enforce criminal penalties that sanction the same conduct that is prohibited in the criminal provisions” of federal immigration laws, so long as they do not exceed federal laws and penalties. .
The bill would give Congress permission for state and local governments to act, something they have so far been barred from doing due to a 2012 Supreme Court ruling. Reps. Bob Good , R-Va., Randy Weber, R-Texas, and Ted Budd, RN.C., are all co-sponsors of the legislation.
This decision, United States v Arizona, limited state involvement in immigration enforcement. But with a massive spike in illegal activity at the border, and with what Republicans say is a repeal of accountability by the Biden administration, the legislation would empower state and local governments to intervene.
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“Congress must allow states to act because the Biden administration has refused to enforce our nation’s federal immigration laws amid a historic invasion,” Biggs said in a statement. “On day one, the Biden administration began issuing directives to shut down nearly all border security and immigration enforcement tools to implement its sweeping open border agenda. led to an unprecedented crisis on our border.”
The Biden administration has blamed ‘root causes’ like poverty, violence and corruption, as well as the Trump administration’s dismantling of legal asylum pathways for the ongoing crisis – which has seen more than 2.1 million migrants encountered in this fiscal year alone.
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But Republicans instead pointed to administration policies, which saw the Trump-era enforcement rolled back — and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) priorities controversially narrowed to recent border crossings. , national security threats and aggravated criminals.
The policy coincided with a sharp drop in arrests and deportations of illegal immigrants and was overturned by a federal judge this summer after lawsuits from Texas and Louisiana.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has touted the administration’s immigration policies as having “fundamentally transformed” law enforcement.
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“We fundamentally changed the enforcement of immigration laws internally,” Mayorkas said in a January interview. “For the first time ever, our policy explicitly states that the unlawful presence of a non-national in the United States will not, in and of itself, constitute a basis for the commencement of legal action.
With this clash, states have increasingly taken action on their own. Several officials in Arizona and Texas have urged their governors to declare an “invasion,” which they say would give them more power to act independently.
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Meanwhile, Texas and Arizona have both ferried migrants north to “sanctuary” cities while building their own border walls after the Biden administration largely halted construction.
Republicans have been keen to give states more power over immigration. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., introduced legislation last month that empowers state prosecutors to prosecute violations of federal law and allows states to deport illegal immigrants.