- The Texas House of Representatives voted Tuesday night in favor of a bill that would criminalize entering the state illegally. The bill, Senate Bill 4 (SB4), would give local law enforcement the authority to detain and deport unauthorized immigrants.1
- SB4 is highly controversial as the federal government, not states, is generally in charge of deporting noncitizens. A spokesman for the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) said that the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution renders state acts unconstitutional when they conflict with federal law.2
- Immigration advocacy groups and civil rights organizations call the Texas bill xenophobic and warn that law enforcement powers will lead to racial profiling of Latinos. The bill has caused anxiety within Texas's Latino community, which accounts for 40% of the state's population.1
- Democratic State Representative Jolanda Jones leveed strong criticism of the bill. 'It’s not all right to be racist. I will stop pulling the race card when you stop being racist,' she said.2
- The lone Republican state senator who voted against moving the bill forward was Senator Brian Birdwell, who expressed his concern that it would go against his oath to uphold the US Constitution. Furthermore, he stated that it would set a poor precedent for the state to take on the power of the federal government.3
- Senator Charles Perry, a Republican from Lubbock who authored the bill, claimed that Texas was forced to impose state penalties to deter illegal immigration due to the situation at the border and the federal government's inaction. 'We are pushing and testing envelopes,' stated Perry. 'This nation has every right to expect Texas to do that.'3
- Republican narrative, as provided by Daily Caller. While America's southern border is being invaded by hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens every month, the Biden administration is more concerned with tearing down border security efforts and helping migrants sneak across the Rio Grande. Texas, however, has strong leadership that is concerned about state sovereignty and safety. State and federal governments are duty-bound to implement any mechanism necessary to stop the invasion at the southern border.
- Democratic narrative, as provided by Yahoo News. Federal and state resources are under pressure as migrants continue to cross the US-Mexico border. Governor Abbott and the Biden administration have clashed over some of the state's border measures, and they are likely to do so again over SB4, which could be in violation of international treaties protecting the human rights of illegal immigrants while also raising the risk of racial profiling in Texas. This move from the Texas GOP is deeply authoritarian and disturbing.