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HomeNewsACLU Files Lawsuit Against Texas a Day After Abbott Signed Controversial SB4

ACLU Files Lawsuit Against Texas a Day After Abbott Signed Controversial SB4

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ACLU Files Lawsuit Against Texas a Day After Abbott signed Controversial SB4
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The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) has filed a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Public Safety, but they’re not alone. In collaboration with El Paso County, the ACLU and two immigrant advocacy organizations filed this lawsuit challenging Governor Abbott’s new law. This law is called the Texas Senate Bill 4, and two houses of the Texas Legislature passed it in November. 

These organizations are very much against this law and want it to be scrapped before they start to enforce it on March 5, 2024. In the legal complaint, the ACLU says the bill is “patently illegal” for several reasons. They also claim it violates “the federal government’s exclusive immigration powers and the sensitive foreign policy implications of these powers.”

This is because the law gives Texas officials total control over immigration, regardless of what federal laws say. It also deprives immigrants of their rights under federal law. Therefore, the ACLU, El Paso County, Austin-based American Gateways, and El Paso’s Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center decided to take legal steps to prevent this together. 

USA TODAY reached out to Texas Governor Greg Abbott but didn’t get a response immediately. They also contacted the Texas Department of Public Safety, but they declined to comment on the lawsuit. 

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ALSO READ: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signs controversial SB4 Bill Into Law

Later, the governor released a statement addressing the issue after signing the law in Brownsville, Texas. According to the governor, this law will help reduce Texas’s migration problem. He also said the law and two other border security laws will “better protect Texas and America.”

He continued, saying, “President (Joe) Biden’s deliberate inaction has left Texas to fend for itself. These laws will help stop the tidal wave of illegal entry into Texas, add additional funding to build more border walls, and crack down on human smuggling.”

POLL — Should the U.S. Government Create a Path to Citizenship for Undocumented Immigrants?

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Many Republicans agree with Abbott and believe he is on the right path. However, others think this violates human rights and will be detrimental in the long run. For example, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego believes the law will do more harm than good. 

According to him, this will only put a higher financial burden on the county due to the new provisions the government has to make. The county will have to provide detention space for an expected increase in migrant detainees arrested by state authorities. Therefore, they need at least one new jail. 

A new jail could be pretty expensive at more than $40 million. “We feel what they are doing is unconstitutional, unlike us. We want to continue to be us – humanitarian, above the fray of the political stuff,” he told USA TODAY. 

ALSO READ: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Warns State Universities Against Advocating for Genocide or Antisemitism

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In addition, more than 80% of El Paso County residents identify as Hispanic. So, they believe the new law is only a way to enforce the government’s “anti-immigrant sentiment.” 

If they enforce the law, it will affect not only the illegal migrants but also the lawful residents as well. The penalty for violating this law is heavy and could include a class-A misdemeanor to a second-degree felony. Therefore, a severe law can lead to a 20-year jail sentence.

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