Spiller argues for border bill in Big Easy

Spiller argues for border bill in Big Easy

Rep. David Spiller traveled to New Orleans last week to help the state’s lawyers argue to a federal appeals court that the immigration bill he authored last year should go into effect while a lawsuit challenging it proceeds through a lower court.

Mr. Spiller, R-Jacksboro, communicated with the Texas Solicitor General during a hearing before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals about the particulars of Senate Bill 4, which allows state law enforcement officers to detain and deport migrants who enter the country illegally.

“SB 4 is a modest, but important statute. It’s modest because it mirrors federal law,” Texas Solicitor General Aaron Nielson told the judges during the April 3 hearing. “It’s important because it helps to address what even the president has called a border crisis.”

The three-judge panel heard arguments about whether the temporary injunction that U.S. District Judge David Ezra in San Antonio ordered will stay in place while a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality proceeds through his court, Mr. Spiller said.

“We were seeking to have that [injunction] overturned so we can enforce it.” he said. “I expect a ruling sometime soon. Hopefully this week they will rule.”

The solicitor general argued the case before the three-judge appellate panel, but relied on Mr. Spiller for questions pertaining to the new law. Mr. Spiller said the questions asked by the panel were “very good,” but did not indicate which way the justices would rule.

“It was a team effort and I was glad to be part of the team,” he said.

Mr. Spiller said both sides are likely to appeal the appellate court’s ruling, and the matter ultimately will end up before the U.S. Supreme Court, which last week struck down the injunction and sent the case back to the appeals court. Hours later, the appeals court reinstated the injunction while it considered its constitutionality.

Mr. Spiller said recent incidents of migrants pushing through concertina wire and border barriers show that the law is urgently needed.

“1 think that is more support that we are being invaded,” he said. “When you see all these Chinese nationals and young Middle Eastern men … who are fighting to get in here and not for a good cause, it is of great concern that that is continuing to happen. It is shocking that the Biden administration doesn’t seem to care and that is hard for me to wrap my head around.”

In February, congressional Republicans scuttled a bi-partisan Senate bill that would have allowed federal border

agents to shut down legal ports of entry if the number of migrants crossing illegally rose above 5,000 per day. It also would have increased resources for housing and processing migrants and would have tightened requirements for petitioning for asylum.

House Republican leadership declined to bring the bill up for a vote after former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, spoke against it.

In the meantime, Mr. Spiller also has been doing the local and national media circuits to explain how the bill works.

“I’m a little surprised there are news outlets that keep trying to mischaracterize the bill,” he said. “I am surprised at how hard the Biden administration is pushing back.”

The Mexican government has publicly opposed SB4, saying in an amicus brief to the 5th Circuit that it would lead to tensions between the U.S. and Mexico, and to discrimination against Mexicans and Latinos.