Texas House Passes Bill for US’s Strictest Immigration Laws Allowing Migrant Arrests

(ReliableNews.org) – In 2018, the court ruled on the case of Arizona v. United States, finding that states cannot pass immigration laws that conflict with federal immigration laws. The reasoning behind the ruling rests with the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, which empowers Congress to preempt state laws when those on both levels conflict with each other. Still, Texas recently passed an immigration bill that could land the issue back in court.

On November 14, ABC News reported that the Texas House of Representatives voted to advance SB 4, sending the controversial legislation to Governor Greg Abbott’s (R) desk. The bill already passed the state Senate days ago. State Representative Jolanda Jones (D) called the bill and its supporters “racist.” The legislation creates two new Texas crimes for migrants who cross the border into the United States. First offenses are misdemeanors, while second and subsequent offenses escalate to a felony. Entering or re-entering illegally from outside the US could result in two years behind bars.

One problem with the legislation is that it will allow local and state law enforcement to detain migrants they believe are in the country illegally and send them back across the border. This will be done after obtaining identifying information from the suspected migrant and cross-referencing it with federal and state databases. Many believe the bill will open the door wide for racial profiling that flies in the face of asylum seekers who have protection under federal law.

Civil Rights Attorney Aron Thorn believes if Abbott signs the legislation into law, lawsuits will undoubtedly follow. There could be an international issue with Mexico, as well, because the people officers will force across the border might not have a legal status in that country. Thorn agrees that racial profiling will run rampant if SB 4 becomes law.

The Department of Homeland Security has not made an official statement about the proposed Texas laws.

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