Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signed a new law that grants police the authority to arrest migrants who cross the border illegally, signaling a significant shift in immigration policy. The signing ceremony for Senate Bill 4 took place on Monday, with Gov. Abbott stating that the goal of the law is to “stop the tidal wave of illegal entry into Texas.”
Under the new law, migrants who are arrested for illegally crossing the border will be given two options: they can either agree to leave the United States as directed by a Texas judge, or they will be prosecuted for misdemeanor charges of illegal entry. Those who refuse to comply with the judge’s order could face arrest again under more serious felony charges.
Gov. Abbott, a Republican, has been a vocal critic of the Biden administration’s handling of the border crisis and has taken drastic measures to address it. Since the beginning of the year, Texas has bused over 65,000 migrants to cities across the country and even installed razor wire along the banks of the Rio Grande.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill making it a state crime to enter Texas illegally.
Why is he doing more to protect Texans than Biden is doing to protect Americans? pic.twitter.com/Q9MfBsztuX
— TaraBull𝕏 (@TaraBull808) December 19, 2023
However, the law is expected to face legal challenges as immigration enforcement is a federal responsibility. Critics have also denounced the measure as the most extreme attempt by a state to police immigration since Arizona’s 2010 “Show Me Your Papers” law, which was largely struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.
In fact, thirty former U.S. immigration judges, who served under both Republican and Democratic administrations, have signed a letter condemning the Texas law as unconstitutional.
Mexico has also rebuked the measure, as it violates bilateral and international agreements stating that Mexico is only required to accept deportations of its own citizens. Under the new law, migrants will be sent to entry ports along the Mexico border, regardless of their nationality.
In response to the law, Mexico’s foreign relations department released a statement saying that it “categorically rejects any measure that would allow local or state authorities to detain or deport Mexicans or other nationalities to Mexican soil.”
Former Acting ICE Director Tom Homan weighs in on Texas Governor Greg Abbott signing a new law allowing state and local police to arrest illegal migrants as new polls show growing concern for border security pic.twitter.com/dIL205L6Ow
— Mornings with Maria (@MorningsMaria) December 19, 2023
The White House has also expressed disapproval of the new law, with a spokesperson calling it “extreme” and arguing that it “will make communities in Texas less safe.” They also reminded that the federal government, not individual states, is responsible for enforcing immigration laws and determining when and how to remove noncitizens.
The signing of this law comes at a time when border encounters have reached record highs. Fiscal Year 2023 saw over 2.4 million migrant encounters at the border, with September and October breaking individual records. However, efforts to provide more resources at the border have stalled as Republicans demand additional restrictions on asylum and the use of parole, a demand that some Democrats have resisted.
Fox News Digital has reached out to Gov. Abbott’s office for further comment on the matter. With this new law, Texas has taken a bold stance on immigration, and its implications will be closely watched by both supporters and opponents. It remains to be seen how the federal government and other states will respond to this controversial move.