On Monday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed a groundbreaking bill known as SB 4 into state law that makes illegal migrant entry from Mexico a state crime. The new statute makes Texas the first state in the nation to take such an unprecedented step in border control as the immigration crisis plaguing America continues to escalate under the Biden administration.
SB 4 is the Lone Star State’s response to what Abbott describes as inadequate federal action on immigration. Designed to restrict the unchecked flow of illegal border crossers, the new law is part of a broader border security package developed by the Texas Legislature during two special sessions this fall.
Texas Governor Signs Bill Making Illegal Migrant Entry from Mexico a State Crime https://t.co/s8Ns3GZHRj
— Scott4Trump (@Scott_4Trump) December 19, 2023
Abbott signed the new law at a ceremony near the Brownsville border wall. It criminalizes illegal entry into Texas from any foreign country, which previously has only been a criminal act under federal law. Persons convicted under the new law will face up to 20 years in state prison for repeated illegal entries and are subject to immediate deportation in all cases.
While the new Texas law mirrors many provisions of federal law found in Title 8 of the U.S. Code, the state law provides for enhanced enforcement procedures and criminal penalties. Abbott said Monday the legislature crafted the law to fill in some of the prominent gaps in federal border enforcement as they apply to Texas.
Citing one of the most pressing public safety concerns, Abbott said, “Texas needs to defend itself from drug cartels.”
As expected, the new Texas law has been criticized by liberals and progressives.
Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, said of the law: “Immigration is clearly a federal authority, and this legislation knowingly dances on the edge of constitutional cliffs at the expense of vulnerable children and families.”
The Biden administration and immigration activist groups are expected to mount immediate challenges to the new Texas law in federal courts. Some legal experts, immigrant rights organizations and former immigration judges have raised concerns that SB 4 conflicts with and infringes on exclusive federal jurisdiction.
Interestingly, the Biden White House will likely find an ally to the south in opposing Texas. Mexico’s foreign relations department has rejected any state-level measure that detains or deports non-citizens to Mexican soil.
The nation will watch closely as Texas embarks on its bold new approach to protect the safety and property of its citizens in the face of the destructive effects of the Biden administration’s open borders policies and lax law enforcement efforts.