ACLU Files Suit Over TX Border Security Bill

ACLU logo on website
ACLU logo on website | Image by Casimiro PT/Shutterstock

The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Texas, and the Texas Civil Rights Project have filed a lawsuit against Texas Senate Bill 4 in a federal court, alleging the new law is unconstitutional.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, American Gateways, and the County of El Paso, Texas, according to a news release from the ACLU.

SB 4, which was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday, officially makes unlawful entry into Texas a crime and allows state law enforcement officers to apprehend those suspected of violating the law.

The lawsuit filed by the ACLU argues that the law is unconstitutional as it violates the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution.

“The law bypasses federal law as Texas judges would be authorized — and in some cases, required — to order a person’s deportation regardless of whether a person is eligible to seek asylum or other humanitarian protections under federal law. Enforcement of the law isn’t limited to border communities, meaning Texans across the state would be at risk of arrest, jailing, and deportation,” contended the ACLU.

Adriana Piñon, legal director of the ACLU of Texas, said the new law is “one of the most extreme anti-immigrant bills in the country.”

“The bill overrides bedrock constitutional principles and 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,” claimed Piñon.

“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.”

The belief that this new law is unconstitutional has been expressed by many, including Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa, who said in a statement after SB 4 was passed that it is “anti-migrant, dangerous and unconstitutional.”

“This will not fix the real security issues along the southern border. This will not keep Texans safe. This will do nothing but rip families apart and overcrowd our prisons — which is what Texas Republicans do best,” added Hinojosa.

However, Abbott has pushed back on the criticisms of the bill, stating just before signing the bill that President Joe Biden has “done nothing to halt illegal immigration” and the president’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 wall, and crackdown [sic] on human smuggling,” the governor argued.

In addition to Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has also expressed his support for the bill.

“Texans are tired of the Biden Administration’s abdication of their constitutional responsibility to enforce the southern border. As the Administration’s lack of action endangers Texans and all Americans, the passage of SB 4 will support Texas’ historic efforts to secure the border and maintain public safety,” said Patrick in a statement after the bill passed in the Texas Senate.

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