The Texas Legislature has passed what the Texas ACLU called one of the most radical anti-immigrant bills ever passed by a legislature.
Even though members of both parties conceded that the legislation was unconstitutional, Senate Bill 4 overwhelmingly passed to create a new state crime for unauthorized entry or reentry to Texas from a foreign country. State and local law enforcement will be empowered to arrest and prosecute people suspected of violating the law. Judges will be empowered to order a person’s departure from the United States after a mere finding of probable cause of a violation of the law.
Eleven years ago, considering a challenge to a significantly less extreme state law in Arizona v. United States, 567 U.S. 387 (2012), the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the law, holding, “Federal law makes a single sovereign responsible for maintaining a comprehensive and unified system to keep track of aliens within the Nation’s borders.” In other words, immigration enforcement is the job of the Federal government—not the states.
News reports indicate that the Texas Governor will sign the bill into law any day. And based on the clear Supreme Court precedent, the ACLU of Texas has promised to sue to enjoin the law based as soon as it is signed.
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