On Monday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a new immigration law authorizing state officials to arrest migrants illegally crossing the border.
Under the law, titled SB4, state authorities have the power to stop, arrest, and jail migrants on new, state-level illegal entry charges. Additionally, state judges issue de facto deportation orders against suspected violators of the law, despite its lack of details on how it would be enforced
“The goal of Senate Bill 4 is to stop the tidal wave of illegal entry into Texas,” Abbott said at a signing ceremony along the border in Brownsville. “Senate Bill 4 is now law in the state of Texas.”
According to CBS News, SBS would render illegal immigration a state crime, ranging from a misdemeanor to a felony. Previously, crossing into the states outside an official port of entry was considered a federal crime. Still, most migrant violations are treated as civil cases in the immigration court system.
Additionally, arrests of migrant adults on state trespassing charges would not require the consent of private property owners as it has in the past.
Illegal crossings from Mexico to Texas would be treated as a misdemeanor crime, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Moreover, illegal reentry into Texas would be a felony offense, with jail times up to 2, 10, or 20 years based on whether the migrant was previously deported or convicted of certain crimes.
The new legislation also prohibits state officials from arresting migrants in particular locations, such as schools, places of worship, and health care facilities.
Meanwhile, Texas magistrates would be able to order migrants suspected of committing the new illegal entry or reentry crimes to return to Mexico as another way to continue their prosecution. Additionally, violators of the order would be charged with a second-degree felony.
The signing of the law followed after U.S. officials suspended border train crossings in El Paso and Eagle Pass, Texas, as the Senate continued to discuss improvements for border security, CBN News reports.
On Sunday, authorities reportedly arrested over 4,000 migrants in the area. Additionally, ports of entry in Arizona and a pedestrian entrance in San Diego have also experienced temporary closures.
Photo Courtesy: ©Getty Images/bymuratdeniz
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
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