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Gov. Abbott ratifies law allowing Texas police to arrest illegal aliens — to the great displeasure of open-border leftists
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Gov. Abbott ratifies law allowing Texas police to arrest illegal aliens — to the great displeasure of open-border leftists

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ratified legislation Monday effectively making illegal immigration a state crime — an apparent necessity in light of the Biden administration's apparent inability or unwillingness to enforce federal immigration law. Police will soon be able to arrest foreign nationals who illegally sneak into the U.S.. Magistrates will also be able to order illegal aliens to leave the country.

Senate Bill 4, which goes into effect in March, is one of a handful of new tools Texas has been equipped with to address record-high monthly illegal border crossings.

"Four years ago, the United States had the fewest illegal border crossings in decades," Abbott said in a statement. "It was because of four policies put in place by the Trump administration that led to such a low number of illegal crossings."

In fiscal year 2020, there were 400,651 southwest border encounters between October and September. By contrast, in fiscal year 2022, there were 2,387,944 encounters during the same stretch. Over 6.6 million illegal aliens have illegally crossed the border since President Joe Biden took office.

"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," added Abbott.

Laying down the law

Both chambers of the Texas legislature passed SB 4 in November. This legislation, proposed by Republican state Rep. David Spiller, would make illegal entry into the Lone Star State a class B misdemeanor as well as allow for foreign nationals who refuse to leave the country to be charged with a second-degree felony, which carries prison time of up to 20 years.

Additionally, illegal aliens found "at any time" who have previously been convicted of two or more misdemeanors involving drugs, crimes against a person, or both would be charged with a third-degree felony.

The law provides civil immunity and indemnification for local and state government officials to spare them from lawsuits resulting from the application of Texas law. However, law enforcement officials cannot perform such arrests at schools, churches, sexual abuse shelters, and hospitals.

Spiller indicated in October that this legislation was a "Texas solution to a Texas problem. It is a humane, logical, and efficient approach to a problem created by the Biden Administration [sic] continued failure and refusal to secure our border. Not only does it not overburden our criminal justice system, it should be less costly than detaining many people that we are currently expending funds to house."

"There is nothing unfair about ordering someone back from where they came if they arrived here illegally" added Spiller.

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick called SB4 “the strongest border security bill Texas has ever passed.”

Backlash from the usual suspects

Blaze News previously reported that Mexican authorities have been critical of SB4, noting in a Nov. 15 statement that "the Government of Mexico categorically rejects any measure that allows state or local authorities to detain and return Mexican or foreign nationals to Mexican territory."

Democrats, liberal media outfits, and other leftist activists have joined the foreign power in denouncing SB4.

The ACLU of Texas threatened last month to sue if Abbott ratified SB4.

"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," said Oni Blair, executive director at the ACLU of Texas.

"These new measures will not rebuild trust among immigrant communities that have long grappled with the specter of detention and deportation," said Krish O'Mara Vignarajah, Michelle Obama's former policy director now serving as CEO of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service — another group that welcomes illegal aliens into the U.S.. "To the contrary, they are poised to create a chilling effect, deterring immigrants from seeking necessary assistance or cooperating with law enforcement, and jeopardizing the safety and cohesion of Texan communities as a whole."

The pro-illegal-immigration group Border Network for Human Rights threatened to stage a "journey of resistance" caravan along the Texas-Mexico border, teaching migrants how they can circumnavigate state law and exert political influence stateside to have the law repealed, reported WWTI-TV.

Democratic Rep. Veronica Escobar (Texas), a supporter of the BNHR's efforts, stated, "What the state of Texas is doing and our governor and members of the (Republican-led) Legislature are doing is they want to have a state immigration system, and that is against our Constitution, against federal law."

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) and other leftist lawmakers have written to the Biden Department of Justice, asking it to sue Texas to block SB4 from going into effect.

"We urge you to assert your authority over federal immigration and foreign policy and pursue legal action, as appropriate, to stop this unconstitutional and dangerous legislation from going into effect," said the letter.

Thirty former immigration judges issued a statement on Nov. 10 claiming SB4 "is not lawful."

Liberal media outlets have repeatedly compared SB4 to a 2010 Arizona law, Senate Bill 1070, that was ultimately struck down in 2012 by the Supreme Court.

"The core question is whether the states can make it a crime to violate federal immigration law and detain an alien for violating that law," said Josh Blackman, a constitutional law professor at South Texas College of Law Houston, told the New York Times.

"What Texas is doing is taking up Arizona's mantle," said Daniel Morales, a law professor at the University of Houston. "This is a complete relitigation of the issues that appeared and were settled in that case."

Some state Republican lawmakers figure the law might get a fairer hearing before the high court now that it has more conservative justices on the bench, reported the Texas Tribune.

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.
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