Migration Advocate Expresses Concern Over New Law

U.S.-Mexico border | Image by Manuela Durson/Shutterstock

Migrant advocates from the Dallas-Fort Worth area and across Texas have expressed concern over a new border security law that makes it a crime to enter the state unlawfully.

SB 4, signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott and scheduled to go into effect on March 5, will also permit state law enforcement officers to apprehend those suspected of violating the new law.

Rachel Griffin, a pastor at Oak Lawn United Methodist Church, is a migrant advocate and has helped lead Dallas Responds since 2018, per WFAA.

Griffin said that Dallas Responds is an outreach program from the church meant to “alleviate some of the burden at the border of the … number of asylum seekers legally seeking asylum in the United States.”

“We serve as a way station to help people get some of the items they might need to continue on their journey. We help them arrange for their travel to get to their sponsor here in the United States and ensure they can safely traverse this kind of last leg of their journey,” she added, according to WFAA.

However, Griffin said she was concerned about the effect that SB 4 will have on the community when it goes into effect.

“Our concerns are that members of our community can be arrested for just looking Latino, and that’s a big problem,” she said, per WFAA.

The American Civil Liberties Union announced shortly after the bill was signed into law that it would be suing Texas over it, alleging that the measure “flouts federal immigration law while harming Texans, in particular Brown and Black communities.”

“Time and time again, elected officials in Texas have ignored their constituents and opted for white supremacist rhetoric and mass incarceration instead,” the legal director of the ACLU of Texas, Adriana Piñon, claimed in a statement about the lawsuit.

“The state wastes billions of taxpayer dollars on failed border policies and policing that we could spend on education, better infrastructure, and better health care. Texans deserve better, and we’re holding Texas politicians accountable to make sure this law never goes into effect,” she said.

Similarly, a new lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice claims that the handling of unlawful migrants is a federal power and “Texas cannot run its own immigration system.”

“Its efforts, through SB 4, intrude on the federal government’s exclusive authority to regulate the entry and removal of noncitizens, frustrate the United States’ immigration operations and proceedings, and interfere with U.S. foreign relations,” claimed the DOJ in the filing, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

Despite the lawsuits, Attorney General Ken Paxton has expressed support for the law and said that it was “created to address the endless stream of illegal immigration facilitated by the Biden administration.”

“Just as I am prepared to fight the lawsuit brought by the extremist ACLU and the nonprofits enriching themselves due to the federal government’s open borders doctrine, I am prepared to fight the Biden Administration, whose immigration disaster is leading our country to ruin. Texas has the sovereign right to protect our state,” Paxton wrote in a social media post.

His comments were similar to those of the governor, who claimed in a social media post of his own that “Biden would rather sue Texas for our efforts to secure the border than enforce federal laws that would eliminate this crisis.”

“Texas will not back down,” Abbott added. “We will continue to build new barriers, repel illegal crossings, and transport migrants to relieve overwhelmed communities.”

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