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Texas Governor Greg Abbott Signs Landmark Border Bill Criminalizing Illegal Entry

Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed SB 4 into law, making illegal entry into Texas a state crime. This move escalates the legal battle between Texas and the federal government over measures to combat illegal immigration.

Empowering Local Law Enforcement

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SB 4 grants local law enforcement the authority to arrest migrants, and judges can issue removal orders to Mexico.

The law, expected to take effect in March, has triggered fear within Texas’ Latino community, which comprises 40% of the state’s population.

Criticism from Civil Rights Organizations

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Civil rights organizations and immigration advocacy groups condemned SB 4, expressing concerns about its impact on immigrant communities.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) labeled it one of the most anti-immigrant bills passed by any state and threatened legal action.

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Migration Surge Puts Strain on Resources

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The ongoing surge in migration at the US-Mexico border has strained local and federal resources.

The Abbott and Biden administrations have clashed over Texas’ measures to address the issue, leading to a temporary suspension of operations at international railway crossing bridges in Eagle Pass and El Paso.

Border Crossing Surge Prompts CBP Response

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US Customs and Border Protection temporarily suspended operations at key Texas crossings due to a spike in border crossings.

Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens reported a 2% increase in migrant apprehensions in November compared to October.

Democratic Opposition to the Bill

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Democratic House members argue that SB 4 oversteps federal powers, drawing parallels to Arizona’s controversial “show me your papers” law.

The US Supreme Court previously rejected a similar provision in 2012, upholding federal authority over immigration policy.

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Author’s Defense of Constitutionality

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Kevin F. Lawrence, the executive director of the Texas Municipal Police Association, is the Republican author of SB 4.

He asserts the law’s constitutionality, stating “SB 4, at least to some measure, would give local law enforcement better tools to work with.”

ACLU’s Legal Threat

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The ACLU has vowed to sue Governor Abbott over SB 4, emphasizing its perceived anti-immigrant nature.

The organization contends that criminalizing the act of seeking refuge undermines the nation’s values of compassion and due process.

Opposition from Immigration Advocacy Groups

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Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, denounced the bill, stating it jeopardizes the “safety and dignity of asylum seekers.”

Vignarajah criticized Texas for criminalizing the act of seeking refuge, stating, “By criminalizing the very act of seeking refuge, Texas is turning its back on the values of compassion and due process that make our nation the world’s beacon of humanitarian leadership.”

Read Next: Republicans slam Washington Post op-ed which suggested ‘open rebellion

County Executives’ Plea to President Biden

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Three county executives, representing nearly a quarter of Texas’ population, penned a letter to President Biden urging him to intervene and stop SB 4.

They expressed concerns about the bill’s constitutionality and its potential negative impact on community safety.

The letter read, “We urge you to intervene to stop this legislation from going into effect and to prevent Texas Governor Greg Abbott from violating the U.S. Constitution.”

Democratic Lawmakers Express Concerns

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Rep. Joaquin Castro and 20 other Democratic lawmakers wrote to Attorney General Merrick Garland, expressing “grave concern” over SB 4.

They urged Garland to assert federal authority and pursue legal action to prevent the implementation of what they deem unconstitutional and dangerous legislation.

A Turning Point in the Immigration Battle

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The controversial SB 4 of Texas has intensified the battle over immigration policies between the state and the federal government.

The law’s impact on the Latino community, legal challenges from civil rights organizations, and opposition from Democratic lawmakers demonstrate the relevance and gravity of this issue.

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