FIRST ON FOX: Legislation being introduced by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., on Tuesday would allow states to enforce federal immigration law, including the deportation of illegal immigrants – as Hawley calls for the U.S. to “take the gloves off” to fight unlawful immigration.
The “Empowering States to Deport Illegal Immigrants Act” would authorize state and local law enforcement officers to enforce certain federal immigration laws, and comes amid ongoing Republican claims that the Biden administration is refusing to secure the border.
The bill would effectively abrogate a 2012 Supreme Court case which significantly limited the ability for states to be involved in immigration enforcement. Instead, the bill would allow states to use their resources for immigration enforcement.
It would give power to state prosecutors to initiate prosecutions for violations of federal immigration law. States would be able to deport illegal immigrants and for border states to move to secure the border.
The Biden administration has argued that the border is “secure” and has said it is re-establishing legal asylum processes that are in accordance with U.S. law and that were torn down during the Trump administration.
However, Republicans have pointed to the more than 2.1 million encounters this fiscal year, a significant number of which have resulted in release into the U.S., as well as the more than half a million “gotaways” believed to have entered the U.S. They have attributed the enormous migrant surge to Biden-era policies, which have seen the end to Trump-era border enforcement mechanisms and a dramatic reduction of internal immigration enforcement.
“If Joe Biden isn’t going to enforce immigration laws why don’t we let the states enforce immigration laws?” Hawley said last week on “The Ingraham Angle” previewing the legislation. “The State of Texas would love to, the states of Florida, Arizona, they’d love to enforce immigration laws. Let’s them do it, let’s let them secure the border, let’s let them deport illegal immigrants according to our laws.”
“Let’s take the gloves off here, let’s enforce the law, let’s restore order to the border,” he said.
The legislation is one of a number of recent efforts by Republicans at both state and national level to have states step in to fill what they say is a vacuum by the federal government in the face of a raging migrant crisis.
A number of lawmakers at state and local level in Arizona and Texas have called for their governors to declare an “invasion,” a move that would give them greater powers to detain and remove illegal immigrants.
Meanwhile, the states of Arizona, Florida and Texas have taken matters into their own hands by transporting migrants to liberal areas like Martha’s Vineyard, Washington, D.C., and New York City as a way to relieve the pressure on overwhelmed border communities.
Arizona and Texas have taken steps to fill gaps in the border wall, including a unique move by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to use welded shipping containers to plug the gaps. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, meanwhile, has surged law enforcement to the border and authorized officers to return those caught in the country illegally to the U.S.-Mexico border.