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Texas to Arrest and Deport Illegal Migrants

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In a new challenge to the federal government’s immigration authority, Texas has taken illegal immigration laws into its own hands.

A picture of Texas border patrol agents and illegal immigrants
Source: Pinterest

The state lawmakers have approved a bill that would allow police to arrest illegal migrants. Also, this bill gives the local judges the power to order their deportation.

The Texas Senate Bill 4, which Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has signed, is one of the nation’s strictest immigration laws since it took effect, leading to a standoff between Abbott and Biden. The Texas Senate Bill 4 allows the arrest and deportation of certain illegal migrants in Texas.

In addition, it makes unlawful entry a state misdemeanor, punishable by up to two years. However, it applies only to recent arrivals. While it remains unclear if the Biden Administration will allow the bill to stay, Abbott is bent on taking immigration matters into his own hands.

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ALSO READ: Migrants are Starting to Ditch the American Dream for a Home Return

According to reports, Texas arresting migrants is not new. Within six months of President Joe Biden assuming office, Texas troopers began making agreements with border landowners. Hence, they started arresting migrants who crossed their properties for trespassing.

However, this new law is a different ball game, as it empowers all police in Texas to arrest migrants suspected of illegally entering the country. In addition, Texas will charge them with an offense that would be a misdemeanor. Then, a judge could order the defendant to leave the country.

Since the bill took effect, there has been some resistance. While democrats accused supporters of being racist, the Mexican government criticized the measure, warning it would result in family separations and racial profiling.

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Critics also say the law could lead to racial profiling or the wrongful arrest of U.S. citizens and immigrants who are in the country legally. In addition, Democrats also said it would make immigrant crime victims afraid to contact police.

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However, one of the Republicans carrying the bill, state Rep. David Spiller, said the law does not apply to residents who have been in the country for more than two years.

He defended the bill as having sufficient guardrails and said the authorities would mainly apply the law near the border. “This is not, ‘Round up everyone who is here illegally and ship them back to Mexico,” Spiller told a legislative committee.

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However, legal experts and immigrant rights groups have railed against the Texas bill. They claim it conflicts with the U.S. government’s authority to regulate immigration. “Since when does a state deport individuals?” Democratic state Rep. Victoria Neave Criado said. “That’s not a power that states have. That’s a power that the federal government has.”

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In addition to giving police new arrest powers, Texas Republicans are also on track to approve $1.5 billion to continue building more border walls. This Development stems from the fear of facing immigrant crises like New York and Chicago.

According to reports, New York City has seen over 130,000 arrivals since 20222, straining resources. Similarly, Chicago is working to accommodate an influx of over 18,500 migrants, many from Venezuela, at a cost of at least $250 million.

According to the House Republicans, between 16.8 million and 29 million illegal migrants are currently in the country. However, around 3.8 million entered under the Biden administration. While Abbott has signed the bill, the fight for and against it remains fierce.

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