February 8, 2024
Court finds no breach of constitutional rights
|WASHINGTON—Yesterday, a Texas federal district court dismissed a case in which illegal aliens challenged Texas’s policy, in Operation Lone Star, of arresting, trying, and incarcerating illegal border-crossers for violating state criminal trespass statutes. The aliens claimed that their detention under this policy violates the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and that the program abridges their rights to equal protection of the laws under the Constitution. The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) had filed a brief in the court supporting dismissal.
IRLI, in its brief, showed that the illegal aliens’ detention for the state crime of trespass does not violate the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, both because that protection is only for “the people” of the United States and because jail time for the crime of trespass is called for in a valid state statute.
IRLI also showed that the plaintiffs do not even claim that Texas is treating illegal aliens any differently than it treats others guilty of criminal trespass in Texas, much less that any difference in treatment is based on race, ethnicity, or other protected ground. Rather, Texas is responding to a crisis of criminal trespass at the border. In order to make a claim of unequal protection, the plaintiffs at least must allege unequal treatment.
Yesterday, the court agreed with IRLI, finding that the plaintiffs had failed to allege facts necessary to support their constitutional claims, and issued a final judgment dismissing their case without leave to amend their complaint.
“This case richly deserved to be dismissed,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “The Biden administration’s abdication of its statutory duty to secure the border has created a rash of property crimes in Texas, which Texas has every right to address by enforcing its state laws. If the plaintiffs were right in their claims, not only would illegal aliens have free reign to enter and remain in Texas and the United States, but free rein to commit crimes without consequence. We are pleased the court saw the legal baselessness of this suit and dismissed it.”
The case is Barcenas v. McCraw, No. 1:22-cv-00397 (W.D. Tex.)
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