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  • 1440 Daily Digest

Border Law Back-and-Forth

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals began hearing arguments yesterday over a Texas law allowing state police to arrest and prosecute migrants caught after unlawfully crossing the border. The proceedings come after a Tuesday Supreme Court decision upholding the law, which was then followed by a lower court ruling again suspending the order. 

Generally, migrants may cross the border two ways—at formal checkpoints or via unlawful entry elsewhere along the border. If encountered by federal border agents (see overview), many make official asylum applications. The new state-level law makes it a misdemeanor to cross the border between ports of entry. 

Proponents of the law say it adds a tool for the state to address the ongoing surge in migrants—southwest border encounters totaled 1 million over the past four months. Critics argue local officials have few tools to determine who violated the law and how to detain and prosecute them. 

Lawyers for the Biden administration have argued unlawfully crossing the US border is federal purview. See a breakdown here

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