Mexico tells court Texas immigration law is threat to its 'sovereign' rights


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The Mexican government has claimed in a court filing that a Texas anti-illegal immigration law currently being challenged by the Biden administration would, if enacted, impinge on Mexico’s “sovereign right” to determine who enters the country.

Mexico filed an amicus brief last week in support of the Biden administration’s lawsuit against Texas’ S.B. 4 — an anti-illegal immigration law that would allow police to arrest illegal immigrants and allow state judges to order them deported.

The law was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott in December but has been on hold due to a challenge from the Biden administration, which says the law is unconstitutional, hurts international relations and impedes upon the federal government’s enforcement of immigration law. 

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President of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during the daily briefing at Palacio Nacional on March 12, 2024 in Mexico City, Mexico.  (Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

Texas has argued that the law is necessary due to the Biden administration’s alleged failure to secure the southern border and enforce immigration law.

In its brief, Mexico argues that the law going into effect creates a “substantial tension” on U.S.-Mexico relations, including trade, and could also lead to discrimination against Mexican nationals. 

“Mexico is deeply concerned that SB 4 will be applied in a discriminatory manner and fears that its enforcement will lead to improper harassment, detention, removal, and criminalization of Mexican citizens and individuals of Latino appearance,” the brief reads.

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migrants at Texas border wall

Migrants attempt to cross Mexico-United States border despite heightened security measures, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on February 1, 2024.  (David Peinado/Anadolu via Getty Images)

However, it also expresses concern that the law would result in the removal of illegal immigrants to Mexico “regardless of their nationality and without regard for Mexico’s own policies regarding entry into its territory or the noncitizens’ desire to enter Mexico.”  

“Mexico has publicly expressed its opposition to SB 4, expressly noting that that enforcement of SB 4 would interfere with Mexico’s sovereign right to determine who enters its territory.,” the brief says.

The Mexican government then requested that the Fifth Circuit Court keep the injunction on the law going into place.

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The legal battle see-sawed last week as the law was briefly allowed to go into effect by the Supreme Court before being kicked back down to the Fifth Circuit, which blocked it pending arguments on the merits.

Abbott has said that his state can still use trespassing laws to stop immigrants who enter the U.S. illegally, just as February border numbers were announced showing that there was a record number of encounters for the month.

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“Even without S.B. 4, Texas has the legal authority to arrest people coming across the razor wire barriers on our border, and we will continue to use our arrest authority and arrest people coming across the border illegally,” Gov. Abbott said Wednesday.



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