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ACLU Contests Texas Immigration Law SB4

Texas civil rights organizations, joined by El Paso County, have filed a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Public Safety. They are challenging a controversial new law that grants state law enforcement the authority to detain and deport migrants entering or residing in the U.S. illegally.

Lawsuit Against Texas DHS

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The ACLU filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas on behalf of El Paso County, Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, and American Gateways.

ACLU Deems Texas Senate Bill 4 ‘Patently Illegal’

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Describing Texas Senate Bill 4 as “patently illegal,” the ACLU argues that it infringes on the federal government’s exclusive immigration powers. It has sensitive foreign policy implications associated with those powers.

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What is SB4?

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The law, set to take effect on March 5, is seen as an attempt by Texas to assert control over immigration independently of federal regulations.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who signed Senate Bill 4 into law, believes it, along with two other border security laws, will enhance Texas and America’s protection.

Biden’s Inaction Sparks State Action

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Abbott stated, “President (Joe) Biden’s deliberate inaction has left Texas to fend for itself,” emphasizing that these laws aim to curb illegal entries, allocate additional funds for border wall construction, and combat human smuggling.

Financial Strain Ahead

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The legislation, which aligns with federal laws regarding illegal entry and re-entry, has drawn criticism from El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego. He anticipates it as a financial burden on the county.

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Texas Immigration Law May Require A New $40 Million Jail

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With the expectation of increased migrant detainees arrested by state authorities, Samaniego estimates the need for a new jail. The new facility might potentially cost over $40 million.

Border Communities at Risk

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The county has a diverse population regularly crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Civil rights advocates express concerns that lawful residents and U.S. citizens may inevitably become targets under the new law.

El Paso County’s Hispanic Majority Feels Impact of Immigration Law

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El Paso County, with over 80 percent of residents identifying as Hispanic, reflects a community deeply connected to Mexico within a generation or two.

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“Rooted in anti-immigrant sentiment.”

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Marisa Limón Garza, the executive director of Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, asserts that the new Texas law is “rooted in anti-immigrant sentiment.” The lawsuit highlights the potential impact on individuals, emphasizing the discriminatory nature of the legislation.

Possible Penalties

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The penalties for violating the law range from a class-A misdemeanor to a second-degree felony, carrying the possibility of a 20-year jail sentence.

Rising Concerns

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As the legal battle unfolds, stakeholders emphasize the need to address the law’s potential consequences on the diverse and interconnected communities along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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