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Legal Experts and Judges: Texas’ SB4 Law Went “Too Far”

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Washington, DC — Following Wednesday’s 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hearing, the large takeaway was whether or not SB4 (Texas’s show me your papers law) went “too far,” as admitted by Texas’ Solicitor General arguing in favor of SB4. Lawyers arguing against SB4 correctly pointed out that responsibility over immigration resides with the federal government rather than individual states. David Leopold, legal advisor to America’s Voice and Immigration Group Leader at UB Greensfelder LLP, recently assessed: “Not only is Texas resting its legal argument on the dangerous ‘invasion’ clause, but it is seeking to usher in a new and dangerous era of state anti-immigrant policy making. It would undercut the federal government’s supremacy on immigration law and invite chaos and consequences that would result in harms well beyond immigrant communities.”

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

“As we’ve been saying since Greg Abbott and Texas introduced SB4, this law is unconstitutional and dangerous. Rather than address fundamental issues with our broken immigration system, SB4 is an invitation to cruelty and chaos that threatens to target and violate the civil and human rights of both immigrant communities and U.S. citizens alike. If ultimately held up, migrants and communities of color will have a target painted on their backs by law enforcement. The law will empower vigilantes and further instigate the relentless anti-immigrant scapegoating on display by Donald Trump and the modern Republican Party.”

Among the reactions to SB4 are:

  • PHOTOS: Advocates Rally in New Orleans as Fifth Circuit Hears SB 4 Case
  • “It’s scary because the way the arguments were going was that the state was asked a bunch of detailed questions about how the law would go into effect, and their answers were nowhere to be found in the law itself,” said Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center’s director of legal services, Jennifer Babaie to KTSM in El Paso. “Such as ‘it’ll only be limited to people who law enforcement visibly sees crossing the border,’ for example. That was something said in court today. That’s not written anywhere in the laws.”
  • “Though it hasn’t taken effect yet because of a court injunction, S.B. 4 is mobilizing Texas immigrant communities in unprecedented ways,” Fernando Garcia, executive director of the Border Network for Human Rights, told USA Today.
  •  “It makes all of our communities less safe,” immigrant advocate and co-director of American Gateways Edna Yang told Nexstar. Yang says the communities she serves are already weary of the law. “The conversations are really about fear,” she said. “About whether they’re going to be separated from their family, about whether, if they’re currently in an immigration process and they have a work permit, and they have a driver’s license, and they have a job, if they’re going to be affected by this law.”
  • “Their version of Texas is one that is cold,” said Supervising Attorney with Texas Civil Rights Project Daniel Hatoum during a press conference following oral arguments. “This would inevitably lead to racial profiling of black and brown folks throughout the state of Texas,” said Hatoum.
  • “It’s vital for the federal government to be able to control it as one system instead of a patchwork from 50 different states,” Deputy Director of ACLU Immigrant Rights Project Cody Wofsy said during oral arguments.