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Reactions to Supreme Court ruling on new Texas immigration law

Reactions to Supreme Court ruling on new Texas immigration law
4 months 10 hours 26 minutes ago Tuesday, March 19 2024 Mar 19, 2024 March 19, 2024 10:30 PM March 19, 2024 in News - Local

Several organizations and individuals are reacting to the Supreme Court decision that clears the way for police to enforce a new immigration law in Texas.

Senate Bill 4 gives police broad powers to arrest migrants suspected of crossing the border illegally. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court lifted a stay that prevented the law from going into effect.

READ MORE: Supreme Court allows Texas to begin enforcing law that lets police arrest migrants at border

Below are reactions of the law from several officials and organizations:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton secured a major victory as the Supreme Court of the United States denied emergency motions filed by the Biden Administration and various other organizations seeking to block enforcement of Texas’s recent immigration law, SB 4.

Today’s order vacates the administrative stay previously issued by the Supreme Court, thus allowing Texas to immediately enforce the law while the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit decides whether to grant a stay pending appeal.

SB 4 was adopted to address the ongoing disaster at the Texas-Mexico border by making it a state crime to cross the border illegally—which is already a federal crime. This enables Texas law enforcement to detain illegal aliens and for judges to order them to return to the country from where they illegally entered. By design, SB 4 allows Texas to defend its sovereignty while not conflicting with federal law.

“For now, Texas has defeated the Biden Administration’s and ACLU’s emergency motions at the Supreme Court,” said Attorney General Paxton. “Our immigration law, SB 4, is now in effect. As always, it’s my honor to defend Texas and its sovereignty, and to lead us to victory in court.”

South Texas Alliance of Cities Statement Regarding SB4:

As members of the South Texas Alliance of Cities, we are disappointed in the recent developments surrounding Senate Bill 4 (SB4). While there is some relief that a federal appeals court let an earlier injunction stand, blocking SB4, we remain concerned about its potential implications. The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to lift the stay on SB4 while considering a ruling on its merits only adds to our apprehension. As mayors representing cities along the border, we know firsthand that SB4 is not a solution to the border issues we face. Instead, SB4 will create further confusion and chaos. The law will add unnecessary burdens for local law enforcement while diverting valuable time and resources from local police departments that are working tirelessly to fight local crimes and protect their communities. Every day that this law may be in effect increases the risk that our residents will be subjected to racial profiling. Our region faces many complex issues that require real solutions. SB4 distracts from our efforts to work on bipartisan solutions, such as the bipartisan border bill, which will provide communities with resources to address the challenges in a compassionate, humane manner. We sincerely hope that as the appeal heads back to the Supreme Court, the highest court will heed our concerns and prevent SB4 from becoming law.

RAICES

Anti-immigrant state policies under Texas’ multibillion-dollar Operation Lone Star are initiating a crueler, more hostile culture for all Texans, regardless of status. SB4 gives local and state enforcement officials in Texas unchecked power, leading to the detention of anyone they suspect of being in the U.S. without legal status — without due process. Because the Supreme Court did not intervene, state law enforcement are now emboldened to racial profile with pretextual reasons to detain, arrest, and remove people, all of which will disproportionately impact people of color.

“People navigating the immigration system won’t suffer the consequences of SB4 alone — remember, all Texans are at risk of being targeted, regardless of immigration status,” says Dolores K. Schroeder, CEO at RAICES. “We urge everyone to take appropriate action to prepare for SB4 by having a plan, including knowing and understanding your rights; creating a power of attorney and naming a trusted person; and building a support network in the event you are caught up in this cruelty.”

“RAICES has been closely monitoring the legal battle over SB4 between the Biden administration and Texas –– and responsibly preparing our organization to deal with the uptick of abuse that will most certainly impact our clients and staff now that SB4 has come into effect. We know that bad actors are likely to violate our clients’ rights, yielding traumatic outcomes on the families and people we serve,” continues Javier Hidalgo, Legal Director at RAICES.

We have no doubt that SB4 will ultimately be ruled unconstitutional by the courts –– but not before an untold number of people and families are harmed.  We can not overstate this enough: tragedy follows cruelty as our elected and appointed officials ruthlessly limit our legal and human rights."

 Kate Melloy Goettel, senior legal director at the American Immigration Council:  

 “SB4 is cruel, inhumane, and clearly unconstitutional. And it is being mimicked in state legislatures across the country that put immigrant communities and families at risk. All these bills could result in significant civil rights abuses, leading to widespread arrests and deportations by state actors without key federal protections. Our hope is that SB4 is ultimately blocked in court; otherwise, this sets a disastrous precedent.

“Rather than pushing inhumane bills that result in persecution and abuse for immigrant families, state and local governments should focus their energy on working with federal authorities to coordinate receiving migrants at the border. "We have a blueprint for fixing our broken immigration system, and politically motivated and hateful laws like SB4 don’t solve any of our root problems, it only creates more chaos.” 

Tania Chavez Camacho, Executive Director of La Union del Pueblo Entero 

"While we are disappointed that the Supreme Court has chosen to allow SB4 to go into effect, our commitment to justice and equality remains unwavering. We will not allow this setback to hinder our efforts to challenge the discriminatory nature of SB4 and protect the rights of immigrant communities. We have already filed a separate lawsuit against SB4 with the representation of MALDEF.

LUPE recognizes the challenges ahead but remains steadfast in its mission to advocate for the rights of its members and all immigrants affected by SB4. The fight against SB4 is far from over. We will continue to mobilize our community, engage in legal advocacy, and work tirelessly to dismantle the unjust provisions of this harmful law.

Despite this setback, LUPE remains resolute in its pursuit of justice and remains committed to standing with immigrant communities. Our members deserve to live with dignity and without fear of discrimination. We will persist in our efforts to create a more just and inclusive society where all individuals are treated with dignity and respect."

Mission Police Department spokesman Investigator Art Flores

"If someone is here illegally and they already live here, we're not going to focus on that. Our goal is to make sure the community is safe, and that's basically it. I am letting the community know that they are safe here, that they can reach out to Mission Police Department. Our goal is to basically enforce Texas law. That Texas law is beyond reasonable doubt, visually seeing these individuals crossing the border, meaning in between the ports, meaning swimming across, or boat riding across, and we visually see them. That's the only time we will make that arrest."

Harlingen criminal defense attorney Ricardo Barrera 

"This is blood in the water for the lawyers to attack the probable cause, reasonable suspicion, and pull active officers into court systematically for each and every arrest, which is going to be taking cops off the streets"

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