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New Texas immigration law SB4: When does it go into effect and how will it affect immigrants?

The immigration crisis continues to be a problem in Texas. The new SB4 law against immigrants will soon come into force: How will it affect them?

Estados UnidosUpdate:
What to know about the new anti-immigrant law in Texas

The immigration crisis on the southern border continues to be a problem for Texas authorities. In an attempt to address the hundreds of illegal crossings that occur every day into the Lone Star State, state authorities have chosen to implement their own laws to combat illegal immigration.

Among the bills recently approved by the Texas Congress, law SB4 stands out, which is waiting for the signature of the state Governor, Gregg Abbott, to be 100% approved. But what does this new legislation consist of and how will it affect the migrant community? Below, we explain.

How will SB4 affect Texas immigrants?

Through SB4, state and local police officers will gain the authority to arrest undocumented immigrants and suspects attempting to cross the southern border of the United States. Currently, state and local governments must request permission from the federal government before making any type of arrest on undocumented immigrants.

In addition to the power to arrest immigrants without the authorization of the federal government, the new legislation also enables the deportation of those suspected of entering the country illegally, depriving them of a fair and adequate process.

This law also seeks to increase penalties for undocumented immigrants, since people who are arrested at the southern border could be charged with a first-degree felony and face 180 days to five years behind the bars, depending on their criminal history. The penalty could be increased to a second-degree felony for immigrants who refuse arrest, increasing the sentence from 2 to 20 years.

When will the new law come into force?

As mentioned, the bill is still awaiting Governor Gregg Abbott’s signature. Once this happens, the new legislation would go into effect on February 6, 2024. However, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has threatened to challenge SB4 as soon as Abbott signs it.

“Senate Bill 4 replaces federal legislation, promotes racial profiling and harassment, and unconstitutionally authorizes local authorities to deport people without due process, regardless of whether immigrants seek asylum or other humanitarian protections,” said Oni Blair, director of the ACLU in Texas, according to statements collected by El Espectador.