El Paso County and Immigrant Rights Groups Unite in Legal Action, Sue Texas Over Controversial Immigration Law


Two immigrant rights groups and El Paso County sued the state of Texas on Tuesday, protesting a new law that lets state and local cops arrest people they think are illegal immigrants.

The bill, which was passed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Monday, sets up a legal battle over whether or not state governments can handle border issues. In the past, federal police were in charge of arresting people for visa violations.

The plaintiffs say that the new law directly contradicts federal law and lets local cops who haven’t been trained get involved in federal government business.

Immigration is a constitutionally federal power,” the suit says. “The federal government has nothing to do with Texas’s plan and has no power over it.

The lawsuit says the new law is “clearly illegal” because it “litters” on top of the rules and safeguards of federal law, “taking control over immigration from the federal government and denying people who are subject to that system all the federal rights and due process that Congress gave them, including the right to fight removal and seek asylum.”

Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, American Gateways, and El Paso County are all part of the suit. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Texas Civil Rights Project also back the case.

The ACLU of Texas said last week that they would sue to stop the bill.

Last week, Oni Blair, Director of the Texas ACLU, said in a statement, “Senate Bill 4 (88-4) goes against federal immigration law, supports racial profiling and harassment, and gives state officials the unconstitutional power to deport people without due process, even if they are eligible to seek asylum or other humanitarian protections.”

“Politicians in Texas have pushed through some of the harshest laws against immigrants ever passed by any state,” she said. “This bill has nothing to do with our values or the kind of people we want to be as Texans.”

Abbott says that the Biden government has not done enough to stop people from coming into the U.S. from Mexico.

The main goal of Senate Bill 4 is to stop the huge number of people coming into Texas illegally. Abbott said at the bill signing ceremony on Monday, “It makes illegal entry into Texas from a foreign country a crime for repeat offenders, that makes the events of illegal reentry with a possible prison sentence term of up to 20 years.”

He also said, “Biden’s deliberate inaction has left Texas to fend for itself,” which seems to mean that Texas has the right to protect itself.

On Monday, almost two dozen Democrats in the House wrote a letter asking Attorney General Merrick Garland to fight the law. The letter, which was written by Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), calls the bill “the most anti-immigrant state bill in the United States.”

The group wrote that SB 4 was an illegal move to get involved with federal law enforcement. “We strongly urge the Department of Justice to become involved right away to stop the implementation of this harmful law.”

Another group that is against the bill is the Mexican government. On Tuesday, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador told the country’s Foreign Ministry to file a lawsuit against the law.

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