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Monday, December 25, 2023

Texas’ new immigration law could blow up in Greg Abbott’s face

Texas’ new immigration law could blow up in Greg Abbott’s face

"Texas’ new anti-immigration law seems unconstitutional. A similar law in Arizona overturned a decade ago may give clues about the chaos to ensue.

Texas is tempting fate with a new anti-immigration bill, known as S.B. 4, that makes entering Texas illegally a state-level infraction and grants state police the authority to enforce immigration law, usurping powers that are constitutionally granted to the federal government.

The law is already being challenged in court by civil rights and Latino advocacy groups. And it’s been denounced by the Biden administration too.

As Steve Vladeck wrote for MSNBC recently, the law mirrors an Arizona law known as S.B. 1070 that was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2012. The reason? The law was impossible to enforce legally, and it trampled on civil and human rights while subjecting people to racial profiling.

If you want some of the backstory on S.B. 1070, producer Osej Serratos put together an excellent NBC News report back in 2017 on millennials who suffered under the law.

Reports suggest Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is seeking to have the U.S. Supreme Court rule on the law again, now that Donald Trump has packed it with right-wing ideologues. But for the time being, the law is in effect, leaving lots of Texans vulnerable to a political terrorism Arizonans remember all too well. And the chaos that could ensue as a result may well blow up in Abbott’s face.

As an Arizona native, I can attest to the fact that S.B. 1070 made potential criminals out of friends and neighbors who feared they or their family would be targeted by local police for their immigration status — a psychological trauma imposed upon thousands of Latinos and other immigrants. It empowered cruel and power-hungry law enforcement figures like Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who became a nationwide symbol of anti-Latino scorn. The law precipitated mass demonstrations, including throngs of school children who left their classrooms to protest the targeting of their friends and families. Artists refused to perform in Arizona. The law cost Arizona millions of dollars in legal fees and lost business due to boycotts.

And the activists who were forged in the anti-S.B. 1070 movement — such as Ruben Gallego and former Arizona Democratic Party Chair Raquel Teran (who’s running for the congressional seat Gallego is vacating) — used the organizing tactics they learned during their righteous revolt to turn a once-red state purple.

So don’t let the GOP fanfare over this law fool you: The legal fight is just getting started, and if past is prologue, even more problems await the Lone Star State should the law be allowed to stand."

Texas’ new immigration law could blow up in Greg Abbott’s face

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