ACLU of Texas Condemns Unconstitutional Anti-Immigrant Bills
AUSTIN, Texas — State lawmakers today passed two anti-immigration bills that will impact U.S. citizens and migrants. The votes follow revelations about the links between white supremacists and certain Texas politicians promoting these bills.
Senate Bill 4 (88-4) passed despite members of both parties calling the legislation unconstitutional. It creates a new state crime for unauthorized entry or reentry into Texas from a foreign country. S.B. 4 allows local and state law enforcement — who are not trained in immigration law and have no right to enforce it — to arrest and prosecute people suspected of violating the law. It also permits Texas magistrates and certain judges to order a person’s deportation without due process.
Legislators also passed Senate Bill 3, which gives Gov. Greg Abbott an additional $1.5 billion in tax dollars to use at his discretion for border-related operations, including the funding of a border wall and more razor wire and floating barriers in the Rio Grande.
In addition to these two bills, lawmakers passed a third anti-immigrant bill last special session, Senate Bill 4 (88-3), which currently awaits the governor’s signature. It significantly expands enforcement of the state’s criminal “human smuggling” laws, which already serve as tools for prosecutorial abuse, by imposing a mandatory 10-year minimum in most cases.
The following quote can be attributed to Oni K. Blair, executive director at the ACLU of Texas:
“Texas politicians have pushed through some of the most radical anti-immigrant bills ever passed by any state. This legislation is completely out of touch with our values and who we aspire to be as Texans. Senate Bill 4 (88-4) overrides federal immigration law, fuels racial profiling and harassment, and gives state officials the unconstitutional ability to deport people without due process, regardless of whether they are eligible to seek asylum or other humanitarian protections. If signed into law, these bills will directly harm people seeking asylum, Black and Brown communities, and the core principles of our democracy.
It’s shameful that the governor and his allies are wasting taxpayer money on this unlawful cruelty instead of addressing our real needs: keeping the lights on, our schools open, and our teachers paid. Texans across the state have resoundingly opposed these bills from the beginning and we’re not backing down. If Gov. Abbott signs S.B. 4 (88-4) into law, we will sue.”
Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.