Texas Governor Greg Abbott traveled to the Rio Grande Valley to sign three bills aimed at reinforcing efforts to deter illegal immigration at the Texas-Mexico border.
Senate Bill 3 allocates $1.54 billion for the continuation of border barrier construction and authorizes up to $40 million for state troopers to patrol an area near Houston.
Senate Bill 4 establishes a state crime for illegally crossing the border from Mexico, potentially leading to a legal clash with the federal government.
Senate Bill 4 increases the minimum sentence for smuggling immigrants or operating stash houses. Critics argue that making illegal border crossing a state crime is unconstitutional, as immigration enforcement is a federal responsibility.
The laws related to border barrier funding and illegal border crossing take effect in early March, while the human smuggling law becomes effective in early February.
Governor Abbott blames the Biden administration’s immigration policies for necessitating Texas to take action to defend itself against drug cartels. Immigrant rights groups, Democrats, and former immigration judges express concerns about the constitutionality of the state crime law.
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