A proposed legislation in Texas, known as Senate Bill 4, is currently on its way to receive Governor Greg Abbott's approval. This bill, if signed into law, would grant all Texas police the authority to detain migrants who are believed to have entered the United States illegally. It designates illegal entry into the country as a state misdemeanor, carrying a maximum penalty of two years in prison.
Under this bill, a judge would have the power to issue deportation orders for the arrested migrants. The Texas House of Representatives recently passed the bill.
Governor Abbott is widely anticipated to endorse this bill, which would rank as one of the most stringent immigration laws in the United States.
The legislation specifically targets recent migrants, excluding those who have been living in the U.S. for over two years. This detail was clarified by state Representative David Spiller, a Republican and a proponent of the bill.
Additionally, the enforcement of this law would require arresting officers to have concrete evidence of a migrant's illegal entry into the country. This requirement could render the law “almost impossible” to implement, particularly in the northern regions of Texas, according to Steven McCraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Democrats have accused Republicans who support the bill of racism, with Democrat state Representative Jolanda Jones saying “It’s not alright to be racist. I will stop pulling the race card when you stop being racist,” prior to the House vote approving the bill.
Recently, the influx of migrants crossing the southern border has created challenges further north.
Major cities such as New York City and Chicago are struggling to accommodate the influx of thousands of migrants who have arrived since the previous year.
In New York City alone, over 130,000 migrants have arrived since last year, with many still relying on city-funded housing. This surge has pushed homeless shelters to their capacity, necessitating the opening of new facilities.
During the summer, Mayor Eric Adams mentioned that the migrant situation could potentially cost New York City around $12 billion over a span of three years.
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