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Mexico to Challenge Texas' New Illegal Entry Law

Two American legal advocacy organizations have already challenged Senate Bill 4 in court

Mexico to Challenge Texas' New Illegal Entry Law

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador says he plans to challenge a new law enacted in Texas that permits the state to arrest, detain, and deport any migrants who cross into the state illegally.

Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 4 into law on Dec. 18.

“We’re always going to be against these measures, and we want to say to our countrymen and migrants that we’re defending them. The governor of Texas is acting this way because he wants to be a candidate for vice president,” said López Obrador during his Dec. 19 daily press briefing, per Bloomberg. “He’s not going to gain anything with this measure.”

The Texas legislature passed SB4 in November. When the law goes into effect in March, law enforcement will be permitted to arrest anyone they suspect has illegally crossed the border. Someone who illegally enters Texas could potentially be charged with a Class A misdemeanor or a second-degree felony and can either be imprisoned in the United States for up to 20 years or deported to Mexico. Local and state government officials, employees, and contractors are granted civil immunity and indemnification if they are sued while following the law.

“Opponents of the legislation are asking the U.S. Department of Justice to sue Texas, saying the Biden administration needs to do more to rein in Abbott's actions on border and immigration,” reports USA Today. “The Justice Department hasn't publicly responded to the call.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and the Texas Civil Rights Project filed a lawsuit challenging SB4 on Dec. 19. The advocacy organizations argue the law is unconstitutional and will “authorize Texas judges — who are not trained in immigration law and have no proper authority to enforce it — to order a person’s deportation without due process and before they have an opportunity to seek humanitarian protection.”

“We’re suing to block one of the most extreme anti-immigrant bills in the country,” Adriana Piñon, the legal director of the ACLU of Texas, said in a press release. “The bill overrides bedrock constitutional principles and flouts federal immigration law while harming Texans, in particular Brown and Black communities. Time and time again, elected officials in Texas have ignored their constituents and opted for white supremacist rhetoric and mass incarceration instead.”

“The state wastes billions of taxpayer dollars on failed border policies and policing that we could spend on education, better infrastructure, and better health care,” she added.

Abbott has launched a number of initiatives to increase border security and prevent border communities from being overburdened by the impact of increased illegal immigration. He defended SB4 and another new border security-related law during a signing in Brownsville.

“Four years ago, the United States had the fewest illegal border crossings in decades,” said Abbott in his address on Dec. 18. “It was because of four policies put in place by the Trump Administration that led to such a low number of illegal crossings. President Biden has eliminated all of those policies and done nothing to halt illegal immigration. President Biden’s deliberate inaction has left Texas to fend for itself."

"These laws will help stop the tidal wave of illegal entry into Texas, add additional funding to build more border wall, and crackdown on human smuggling," said the governor.

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