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Greg Abbott Has Been Gunning for a Battle on the Border

Since the start of the Biden administration, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas has mounted an increasingly brazen challenge to the federal government over immigration, questioning the notion, long upheld by federal courts, that it is Washington, and not border states, that sets immigration policy.

Mr. Abbott has been able to notch some important victories, pushing the boundaries of what a governor can do when it comes to immigration enforcement.

With the support of the Republican-dominated Texas Legislature, he has poured more than $10 billion into a long-term deployment of state police and National Guard troops on the border, transforming portions of Texas communities along the Rio Grande into quasi-military encampments, complete with bases for soldiers and boundaries of concertina wire.

“Texas is doing its part to secure a border made wide open by Joe Biden,” Mr. Abbott said at the start of a news conference in December near a section of towering steel border fencing installed and paid for by the state.

Lawyers for Mr. Abbott and the state of Texas were headed to a federal appeals court on Wednesday for what the governor has appeared to be seeking all along: a showdown with the federal government over Texas’s power to set its own immigration policy.

The legal battle is over the state’s most ambitious and audacious challenge yet to federal supremacy over immigration: a new law, signed by the governor, that makes it a crime for migrants to cross without authorization into Texas from a foreign country, punishable by jail time, deportation by the state, or both.

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