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FIRST ON FOX: Legislation introduced by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., on Tuesday would allow states to enforce federal immigration laws, including deporting illegal immigrants — as Hawley calls for the U.S. to “take the gloves off” to fight illegal immigration.
The “Authorizing States to Deport Illegal Immigrants Act” would authorize state and local law enforcement agencies 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 overturn a 2012 Supreme Court case that significantly limited states’ ability to be involved in immigration enforcement. Instead, the bill would allow states to use their resources for immigration enforcement.
It would give state prosecutors the power 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.
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The Biden administration has argued that the border is “secure” and has said it re-establishes legal asylum processes consistent with US law that were dismantled under 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 to the United States, as well as the more than half a million “fugitives” believed to have entered the United States, the have attributed the huge wave of migrants to Biden-era policies that have seen the end of Trump-era border enforcement mechanisms and a dramatic reduction in domestic immigration enforcement.
“If Joe Biden won’t enforce immigration laws, why don’t we let the states enforce immigration laws?” Hawley said last week on “The Ingraham Angle,” where he previewed the legislation. “The state of Texas would love to, the states of Florida, Arizona, they would love to enforce immigration laws. Let them do that, let them secure the border, let them deport illegal immigrants under our laws.”
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“Let’s take the gloves off here, let’s enforce the law, let’s restore order on the border,” he said.
The legislation is one of a number of recent efforts by Republicans at both the state and national levels to get states to step in to fill what they say is a void by the federal government in the face of a raging migrant crisis.
A number of state and local lawmakers in Arizona and Texas have urged their governors to declare an “invasion,” a move that would give them greater powers to detain and remove illegal immigrants.
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Meanwhile, the states of Arizona, Florida and Texas have taken matters into their own hands by transporting migrants to liberal areas such as Martha’s Vineyard, Washington DC and New York City as a way to ease pressure on overwhelmed border communities.
Arizona and Texas have taken steps to fill gaps in the border wall, including a unique move by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to use welded shipping containers to close the gaps. Texas Governor Greg Abbott, meanwhile, has pushed law enforcement to the border, authorizing officers to return those caught in the country illegally to the US-Mexico border.