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Immigration Law

Legal questions shroud Gov. Greg Abbott’s move to bus migrants back to the border


"State and local law enforcement have long transferred custody of undocumented migrants to federal immigration authorities after they’ve been arrested. But previously it’s been the federal government’s job to pick them up. Abbott’s decision to arrest migrants and actively bring them back to the border, essentially forcing such a handoff, represents a broadening of the state’s role in the immigration enforcement process. But experts disagree on how significant it is or whether it’s intruding on a federal responsibility and stretching the legal limits of the state’s efforts on the border. ... Getting answers has been difficult. Although the program has been operating since July 9, state and federal officials have ducked questions about how it works, refusing to say where the migrants are being transported to and from, what they are being arrested for and what happens to them after they are turned over to federal immigration authorities. The only way The Texas Tribune was able to confirm that federal authorities are accepting custody of the migrants was by staking out the Eagle Pass port of entry and witnessing the exchange in person."