Texas lawmakers have passed a bill that enables police to arrest migrants who enter the United States illegally and permits local judges to order them to leave the country. This bill, expected to be signed by Republican Governor Greg Abbott, would be regarded as one of the country’s strictest immigration laws if enforced. Mexico’s government has criticized the measure, warning that it may result in family separations and racial profiling. Although the bill has faced opposition from some Republicans and Democrats, it has been passed along party lines.
The new law would expand the ability of Texas police, including officers far from the border, to arrest migrants suspected of illegal entry. Offenders would face a misdemeanor charge, and a judge could order them to leave the country. Critics argue that this legislation may lead to racial profiling and the wrongful arrest of both U.S. citizens and legal immigrants. Democrats also express concern that it could deter immigrant crime victims from contacting the authorities. Proponents of the bill, such as State Representative David Spiller, state that it would mostly apply near the border and would not be applicable to residents who have been living in the country for over two years.
Legal experts and immigrant rights groups have criticized the bill, arguing that it conflicts with the federal government’s authority to regulate immigration. State Representative Victoria Neave Criado questions the state’s power to deport individuals, which is reserved for the federal government. Critics speculate that Texas Republicans aim to challenge a 2012 Supreme Court ruling that invalidated key provisions of an Arizona immigration law. The Mexican government has also expressed concerns about the Texas bill, rejecting measures that may lead to the detention or deportation of Mexicans or other nationalities to Mexican soil.
State Senator Brian Birdwell, the only Republican to vote against the bill, believes it infringes on federal government powers and sets a dangerous precedent. Governor Abbott has demonstrated a focus on the Texas-Mexico border during his tenure, implementing increasingly aggressive measures. In addition to granting arrest powers to police, Texas Republicans are also planning to allocate $1.5 billion for further border wall construction. Texas has also taken legal action to maintain a floating barrier on the Rio Grande and prevent Border Patrol agents from cutting razor wire. Despite these efforts, illegal crossings have remained high, with a rare decrease reported in October.
Overall, the bill in question has raised significant debate surrounding its potential implications and conflicts with federal immigration policy. Its passage represents a continuation of Texas’ efforts to address border security and immigration matters.