The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, the ACLU, and the Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP) have filed a joint lawsuit against the state of Texas over a new law that will allow state and local law enforcement to arrest migrants who cross the border illegally.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 4 into law on Monday. The lawsuit was filed the following day.
The law makes it a state crime to enter Texas from a foreign nation illegally, thus making it enforceable by state and local law enforcement. After a migrant is detained and arrested, they must appear before a judge.
If they are ordered to leave the state, they will be transported to a port of entry at the Mexican border — even if they are not from Mexico and had only passed through.
“We expect a dramatic drop well over 50%, maybe 75%, of the people coming across the border illegally will stop entering through the State of Texas,” Abbott said while signing the bill in Brownsville on Monday.
According to a report from Fox 4, the lawsuit was filed on behalf of El Paso County and two immigrant rights organizations. It names Texas DPS director Steve McCraw and Bill Hicks, El Paso’s district attorney.
The federal lawsuit asks the court to declare the law “unlawful in its entirety” and block enforcement.
“We’re suing to block one of the most extreme anti-immigrant bills in the country,” Adriana Piñon, legal director of the ACLU of Texas, said in a statement provided to the station.
The lawsuit argues that only the federal government can handle issues of immigration and deportation.
“S.B. 4 violates the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution. Immigration is a quintessentially federal authority,” the lawsuit states. “S.B. 4 jettisons this system, grasping control over immigration from the federal government and depriving people subject to that system of all of the federal rights and due process that Congress provided to them, including the rights to contest removal and seek asylum”