OAN’s Taylor Tinsley
1:23 PM – Tuesday, December 19, 2023
Governor Greg Abbott has signed a bill making illegal immigration a crime in the state of Texas.
Abbott (R-Texas) signed a trio of bills on Monday, but SB4 has been highly criticized as one of the cruelest state laws against illegal immigration in recent U.S. history.
The Republican governor said the bills’ goal is to stop the tidal wave of illegal immigrants making their way into the Lone Star State.
It also creates a state criminal offense for anyone coming in from a foreign nation illegally.
“For repeat offenders,” Abbott said, “it creates the offense of illegal reentry with a potential sentence term of up to 20-years.”
Abbott affirmed President Biden’s “deliberate inaction” to secure the border has led Texas to fend for itself.
The Republican also pointed out how rising immigration also poses a national security crisis. He said under President Trump there were 11 people on the terrorist watch list that were apprehended, and under President Biden that number has skyrocketed to 294.
SB4 is set to take effect in March 2024.
Civil rights groups on Tuesday, including The American Civil Liberties Union and the Texas Civil Rights Project, filed a lawsuit against the measure arguing it’s unconstitutional.
Also in response to the new law on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said it was just another political move by Republicans who continue to “dehumanize” illegal immigrants.
Abbott signed two other bills on Monday, allocating $1.5 billion to build more border barriers and walls, and $40 million to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The other measure creates a mandatory minimum 10-year prison sentence for smuggling illegal immigrants and a 5-year minimum sentence for operating a stash house.
Mexico’s president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said he plans on challenging the “inhumane” law.
“The foreign ministry is already working to challenge this law. Plus, we will always be against these measures. I want to tell our fellow countrymen and migrants, we will be defending them,” said Lopez Obrador. “Abbott wants to gain popularity. He will win nothing but the opposite – he will lose sympathy because there are a lot of Mexicans in Texas.”
Meanwhile in FY2024 to date, CBP has encountered more than 240,000 migrants.
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