Texas Civil Rights Groups Seek Injunction to Halt Implementation of Controversial Immigration Enforcement Law

Austin, Texas – The ACLU of Texas and the Texas Civil Rights Project have requested a federal judge to intervene and block the implementation of a new law in Texas that criminalizes unauthorized entry into the state. This legal action comes after the same groups previously filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law, which was signed by Governor Greg Abbott last month.

The law, known as Senate Bill 4, is set to take effect on March 5th. It grants local and state law enforcement the power to arrest and detain individuals suspected of entering Texas without authorization. First-time offenders could face charges of a Class B misdemeanor, while those with multiple illegal entry violations could be charged with a second-degree felony, carrying a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

Critics of the law argue that it will undermine due process rights and lead to the separation of families. They also point out that the judges involved in the process lack proper training in immigration law. Adriana PiƱon, the legal director of the ACLU of Texas, expressed concern that the law would tear apart communities and hinder the integration of migrants.

The ACLU of Texas is not alone in its fight against the law. Other groups involved in the legal battle include the Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, American Gateways, and El Paso County. Edna Yang, co-executive director of American Gateways in Austin, believes that the law will make communities less safe and argues that it is discriminatory and unconstitutional.

Governor Greg Abbott has stood by the law, asserting that the federal government has not done enough to secure the border. However, opponents argue that the law’s impact is already being felt, with people living in fear and facing aggressive enforcement actions by law enforcement officers.

In addition to the legal challenges, the U.S. Department of Justice has also sued Texas, arguing that the law violates the U.S. Constitution, which grants the federal government authority over immigration regulation and border management.

Meanwhile, immigrant advocates across the state have been conducting “know your rights” workshops to educate the public on how to handle encounters with law enforcement.

The repercussions of this contentious law are expected to have far-reaching consequences for both Texans and immigrants residing in the state.