Texas Stripped of Powers in Border Security Bill

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Conservatives have attacked a provision of the new border security bill that would only allow legal challenges to be made in Washington D.C.

The bill would strip the power of Texas and other states to challenge some of the its provisions in their local federal court.

Conservative commentators were quick to denounce the provision, contained on page 221 of the bill. Bill Shipley, who was a federal prosecutor for over 20 years, decried the its court provisions on X, formerly Twitter, on Sunday.

“This would prevent plaintiffs – like the State of Texas – from filing suit in Texas federal courts. This is corrupt,” he wrote.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott on May 23, 2022. There has been tension between Abbott and the Biden Administration over border policies.

Allison Dinner/Getty Images

After outlining the provisions under which immigrants can seek judicial review of a deportation order, the bill states:

“The United States District Court for the District of Columbia shall have sole and original jurisdiction to hear challenges, whether constitutional or otherwise, to the validity of this section or any written policy directive, written policy guideline, written procedure, or the implementation thereof.”

The right of judicial review for illegal immigrants about to be deported has proved controversial.

In 2022, a Louisiana federal judge blocked the Biden administration from ending Title 42, a pandemic-related border restriction that allows for the immediate expulsion of asylum-seekers and other migrants.

Reacting to the latest provisions in the border security bill, conservative writer and self-style “deportation scientist” Mike Howell wrote on X that the bill “puts far left DC district court in charge.”

Lawyer and author, Kurt Schlichter, wrote: “This is amazing” on X in response to the provision.

President Joe Biden’s administration secured a significant win over Texas Governor Greg Abbott in late January after the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to allow the temporary removal of razor wire installed by Texas along the southern border. The removal will remain place while litigation over the issue proceeds.

The decision sparked anger among Republicans who support the measures taken by Abbott and his administration to fight illegal immigration in the state. Tensions over the measures escalated as the federal government raised environmental and humanitarian concerns about the deterrent.

The Texas governor, an outspoken critic of Biden over immigration issues, has vowed that the fight “is not over” and called the razor wire “an effective deterrent” in a post on X, formerly Twitter, despite the legal blow. He also issued a statement declaring Texas’ “right to self-defense.”

In an opinion piece published Sunday, the Houston Chronicle‘s editorial board raised concerns over Abbott’s “defiance,” comparing it to past events in U.S. history.

“For Americans of a certain age, Abbott’s defiance has a familiar ring. It brings to mind Alabama’s ‘segregation forever’ governor, George Wallace, who in 1963 barred African-American students Vivian Malone and James Hood from registering at the University of Alabama,” the opinion piece read.

Newsweek sought email comment from Abbott’s office on Monday.

With the new border security bill, Biden signaled that he is open to “massive changes” on border policy, asking Congress to embrace a bipartisan Senate deal that would pair border enforcement measures with aid to Ukraine to help in its ongoing war with Russia.

However, the GOP-led House doesn’t appear to agree with the bipartisan bill proposed, as conservative hardliners argue the bill wouldn’t go far enough to end illegal immigration into the U.S. In addition, House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, has previously said the Senate deal would be “dead on arrival in the House.”