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Mar 21, 2024

Pushed by Texas Governor Abbott, the SB-4 law has inspired other Republican-led states to follow its steps.

On Wednesday, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador ratified that Mexico will not accept migrants deported by Texas if the SB4 law comes into effect. However, the application of this law remains in dispute.

Texas SB-4 law, which is considered one of the most drastic anti-immigrant measures in United States history along with Arizona's SB-1070 of 2010, has heightened tension in the U.S.-Mexico border and has inspired other Republican-led states to follow its steps.

Amid the complicated legal battle between Texas and the Federal government, which prevented this measure from taking effect on March 5, uncertainty grows among immigrants because it lends itself to racial discrimination.

Key Points

- Pushed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, the SB-4 law makes it a misdemeanor for a foreigner to enter or attempt to enter the state from a foreign nation irregularly. The detained migrant will be charged with a misdemeanor, carrying a sentence of up to six months in jail.

- If the offender is a repeat offender, the offense becomes a felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

- The law allows state justice to order the expulsion of the foreigner without due legal process. A judge could drop the charges if the migrant agrees to return to Mexico.

- The SB-4 law also prohibits any local policy that restricts police officers from questioning a person's immigration status, even during routine stops such as traffic stops, which are promoted in so-called "immigrant sanctuaries".

- The norm requires local authorities to allocate resources such as jail space, agents, and funds to implement the law.

- The SB-4 law prohibits police from arresting immigrants at public or private schools, churches and other places of worship, and medical centers. However, it does not mention university campuses.

States with Similar Initiatives

- Iowa: On Tuesday, the state's House of Representatives approved a bill that would allow police to detain certain undocumented immigrants and order them to leave the country.

Undocumented immigrants could face up to two years in prison if they enter, attempt to enter, or are found in Iowa after being denied entry to the U.S. or deported. The measure is headed to the desk of Governor Kim Reynolds, who has expressed support for the legislation.

- New Hampshire: Earlier this month, the state's Senate approved a bill earlier that allows police to file charges of trespassing against individuals suspected of illegally entering the U.S. from Canada. The initiative is being discussed in the state's House of Representatives.

- Tennessee: Last Friday, lawmakers in the Tennessee House of Representatives approved a bill that requires police officers to inform the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) when they encounter an undocumented individual.

- Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, and North Carolina: The legislatures of these states have either passed or are considering similar bills to the Texas law, imposing harsh penalties on undocumented immigrants.

- Arizona: Governor Katie Hobbs has a measure on her desk, dubbed the Arizona Invasion Law, which would criminalize immigrants by authorizing police departments to detain and arrest foreigners who cross the border illegally.

This Republican-backed project, which Hobbs is expected to veto, would also grant immunity to police officers and their departments from any legal action against them due to possible incidents that occur while enforcing the law.

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