The Department of Justice (DOJ) sued the state of Texas on January 3, 2024, regarding a new Texas law known as Senate Bill 4 (SB4). The bill would create, effective March 5, 2024, new state crimes tied to federal prohibitions on unlawful entry and reentry by noncitizens into the United States and would authorize state judges to order the removal of certain noncitizens. It would allow Texas law enforcement officers to arrest those suspected of being in the United States without authorization.
Noting that “Texas cannot run its own immigration system,” the DOJ’s complaint states that in addition to violating the U.S. Constitution, which tasks the federal government with regulating immigration and controlling the international borders, SB4 also would “intrude on the federal government’s exclusive authority to regulate the entry and removal of noncitizens, frustrate the United States’ immigration operations and proceedings, and interfere with U.S. foreign relations.“
On the same day the suit was filed, Gov. Abbott posted, “Biden sued me today because I signed a law making it illegal for an illegal immigrant to enter or attempt to enter Texas directly from a foreign nation. I like my chances. Texas is the only government in America trying to stop illegal immigration.”
Several civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Texas Civil Rights Project, filed a separate lawsuit in December 2023 challenging the constitutionality of SB4.