Texas immigration law is understandable, terrible, and doomed

(John Moore/Getty Images)

Texas immigration law is understandable, terrible, and doomed

Op-ed, Immigration and the border

LZ Granderson

March 22, 2024

I’m curious to see what people will look like.

You know, the cops in Texas should stop and ask themselves if they look like they’re in the US illegally.

Lone Star Republicans passed Senate Bill 4 last year, which would make illegally crossing the border into Texas from Mexico a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in prison. Repeat offenders can get twenty years. The state could even try to deport people to Mexico. Courts have kept the law in limbo until now, but it is still a looming threat.

Legislating immigration and border issues is not the role of states under the Constitution, but the government has done so. Greg Abbott has a plausible justification for his efforts to take over the federal government and tighten enforcement: Border cities in his state don’t have the resources to handle the historic number of migrants seeking refuge.

Think about this: San Antonio has processed more than 600,000 migrants since 2021. It’s about 150 miles from Eagle Pass, the border town where Abbott sent the National Guard and erected barbed wire in the Rio Grande. For San Antonio, the second largest city in Texas, the crisis is a problem. Before Eagle Pass a town

less less

than 30,000, 600 meters from Mexico



But S




4 is not a solution. Because at the heart of this bill are questions that Texas cannot answer.

The Lone Star State is among the most diverse in terms of race and ethnicity. According to an analysis of U.S. Census data, the country ranks third in religious diversity, sixth in cultural diversity and ninth in socioeconomic diversity.

According to the study, Texas trails only California in total diversity.

What exactly does a Texan look like? Talk like? How are police officers supposed to guess who shouldn’t be in Texas?

Hurricane Katrina forced some 250,000 evacuees to move to Houston, leaving more than 100,000 New Orleanians behind. The fastest growing city in the country during the pandemic was San Antonio. Texas is home to the third largest Asian American population in America.

And the premise of SB 4 is to let police officers stop, question and perhaps even arrest people they suspect have crossed the southern border illegally.

So again I ask: What will the people look like?

Because despite the Don’t California outcome, my Texas bumper stickers that I’ve seen around the state, the facts of the


Census shows that the two states are almost the same in terms of diversity. Trying to determine who isn’t from Dallas based on appearance is like trying to determine the same thing in Los Angeles. And we must believe that with the proper training, local law enforcement can enforce SB 4 without being racist.

Six white former police officers in Mississippi were just convicted of torturing two black men in January 2023. Not 1963 but 2023. The final sentencing for officers linked to the 2020 death of George Floyd had not yet occurred when the goon team of Mississippi beat, tortured and sexually assaulted the officers. two black men.

James Baldwin asked in 1968 why a black man would have faith in an idealism that you assure me exists in America and that I have never seen. Why would anyone today think that Texas’ ridiculous laws would be fairly enforced?

The law requires state judges to order migrants to return to Mexico if convicted. Of course, not everyone who is in the US illegally is from Mexico. The judge would drop the charges if the migrant returns voluntarily, meaning the bill’s authors believe that desperate people who risked their lives to come here would rather go back than enter our slow, broken justice system.

What a depressing thought. Either Texas lawmakers believe our criminal justice system is even worse than it already is, or they have no idea of ​​the desperate poverty and violence driving people north from Latin America. Anyway, the logic behind S




4 is disconnected from reality.

This is the reality: the immigration system is broken. Migration is a crisis. Texas officers ask for S




4 Fair on the streets or by judges in Texas to apply it fairly in court is not only racist and unconstitutional. It’s also impossible.



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