Texas Governor Greg Abbott revealed intentions to sign a new state law that would empower all police officers in Texas to arrest immigrants entering the state unlawfully from other countries. Speaking on Fox News, Abbott emphasized the necessity for intensified measures to prevent illegal entry into Texas. The proposed legislation, Senate Bill 4 (SB4), forwarded by Texas Republicans and set to be signed by Abbott, seeks to authorize local law enforcement to engage in immigration enforcement by categorizing illegal border crossing as a state misdemeanor. Additionally, the bill would grant judges the authority to mandate the return of immigrants to Mexico.
Abbott’s move underscores ongoing tensions between the state government and the Biden Administration regarding immigration policies. Abbott staunchly criticized what he described as the Biden Administration’s lenient stance on border control, attributing the surge in illegal crossings to the perceived welcoming approach toward immigrants. Citing alarming statistics, House Republicans referenced data from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and Yale University, estimating a population of between 16.8 million to 29 million illegal migrants in the United States, with approximately 3.8 million entering during President Biden’s tenure.
Concerns over national security were raised as border sources reported encountering nearly 475,000 migrants, including individuals allegedly on the FBI terror watch list, amidst over 60,000 attempted getaways in the fiscal year. Governor Abbott stressed the gravity of the situation, labeling it an “existential threat” to the nation and asserting Texas’s obligation to intercept and detain individuals posing potential risks.
However, Texas’s recent strategies have faced legal hurdles. The deployment of deterrence buoys in the Rio Grande River aimed at curbing illegal immigration encountered opposition from the Department of Justice, leading to legal disputes and an order from the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals to remove the barriers.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott SNAPS on Biden, goes ROGUE:
“I’ll be signing a law in Texas that will make it illegal for people to enter the state of Texas from another country illegally, and authorizing every peace officer to arrest those people entering our country illegally.” pic.twitter.com/oG4bVrUjbe
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) December 4, 2023
In response to legal setbacks, Abbott affirmed plans to escalate the matter to the Supreme Court if necessary. Notably, last year, Texas redirected tens of thousands of migrants to Democratic-led sanctuary cities, drawing criticism from opposing officials. Last week, approximately 70,000 immigrants were transported by Texas officials to cities across the nation, including significant numbers to Washington D.C., New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver, and Los Angeles.