Crafted carefully, state laws can be written that would allow Texas to crack down on undocumented immigrants and illegal border crossers without running afoul of the U.S. Constitution, a state attorney told lawmakers recently.

In at least one case, he said, it’s already happened.

The guidance comes as Republican lawmakers continue accusing the Obama administration of failing to secure the border, citing the recent influx of undocumented immigrants from Central America into the Rio Grande Valley. The issue was thrust back into the spotlight on Tuesday when Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the Texas National Guard to stay in the Rio Grande Valley despite earlier plans to end its deployment this month.

During a House State Affairs committee hearing last week on border security and immigration, Texas Deputy Attorney General Brantley Starr told lawmakers they have more options than they might think to flex state legal muscle in the traditionally federal realm of immigration enforcement.

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