In a bold move that challenges federal authority over immigration, Texas Governor Greg Abbott grants sweeping powers for immigration enforcementto local law enforcement for handling migrants crossing the U.S. border illegally.
The law, set to take effect in March, empowers any Texas law enforcement officer to arrest individuals suspected of entering the country unlawfully.
Once in custody, migrants face a choice: adhere to a Texas judge's order to leave the U.S. voluntarily or face misdemeanor charges for illegal entry, with the possibility of more serious felony charges for non-compliance.
Critics have drawn parallels between Texas' aggressive stance and Arizona's infamous 2010 "Show Me Your Papers" law, largely struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The controversial Texas law is expected to face immediate legal challenges as opponents argue that immigration enforcement falls under federal jurisdiction.
Gov. Greg Abbott signs three bills into law at a border wall construction site in Brownsville, Texas on Monday, Dec. 18, 2023, that will broaden his border security plans and add funding for more infrastructure to deter illegal immigration.
Governor Abbott, who signed the law at the border fence in Brownsville, anticipates a substantial reduction in illegal border crossings, estimating a potential decrease of "well over 50%, maybe 75%."
The consequences of it are so extreme that the people being smuggled by the cartels, they will not want to be coming into the state of Texas.- Texas Governor Greg Abbott
However, he provided no evidence to support this claim. Opposition, led by the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, swiftly vowed to challenge the law in court, asserting its dangers to Texas residents and interference with federal immigration authority.
The new law adds to existing tensions between Texas Republicans and the Biden administration over immigration control.
As the U.S. government temporarily closes two railroad border crossings in Texas, Governor Abbott's measures aim to confront what he perceives as insufficient federal action to secure the southern border.
Legal challenges are imminent, with the ACLU of Texas committing to contest the law's constitutionality. Over 20 congressional Democrats have urged the U.S. Justice Department to sue against the legislation.
Mexico has rebuked the measure, emphasizing its violation of bilateral and international agreements regarding the deportation of non-Mexican citizens.
Migrants ordered to leave under the new law would be directed to ports of entry along the Mexican border, even if they are not Mexican citizens.
Critics argue that this move threatens the safety and dignity of asylum seekers and turns away from the nation's values of compassion and due process.
Various entities, including the ACLU, county executives, and Democratic lawmakers, have voiced concerns about the law's constitutionality and its potential impact on community safety.
Calls for federal intervention and legal action persist, with opponents urging Attorney General Merrick Garland to prevent the law from taking effect.
In a significant development that could reshape immigration enforcement at the state level, Texas stands at the forefront of challenging federal authority in the contentious debate over border security and immigration policy.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed a controversial law granting local law enforcement broad powers to arrest migrants crossing the US border illegally.
The law, set to take effect in March, mirrors Arizona's "Show Me Your Papers" law and is expected to face legal challenges.
Governor Abbott's predictions of a decrease in illegal border crossings are met with skepticism, while opponents, including the ACLU and congressional Democrats, contest the law's constitutionality.
The legislation intensifies the ongoing debate over immigration enforcement and its impact on migrants and communities.