A few weeks following the passage of a contentious immigration bill by the Texas legislature, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo is urging President Joe Biden to prevent Senate Bill 4 (SB 4), a law enabling officers to arrest and deport individuals suspected of crossing the border unlawfully, from taking effect.
In a letter issued on Monday, November 20, Hidalgo, along with Travis County Judge Andy Brown and El Paso County Judge Ricardo A. Samaniego, asserted that the legislation violates the U.S. Constitution and is a “direct violation of the federal government’s jurisdiction over immigration law.”
According to the county judges, SB 4 would grant judges across Texas the authority to deport individuals, including those in the process of seeking asylum. They expressed concerns that police officers, who rely on close community ties for their effectiveness, would now be tasked with detaining immigrants for deportation.
The bill, which received majority Republican support in the Texas House and Senate earlier this month, is awaiting Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s signature. The county officials argue that SB 4 will damage the U.S.’s relationship with Mexico and is comparable to Texas attempting to declare its own wars. The Mexican government issued a letter rejecting the law and emphasizing its commitment to collaborating with the U.S. federal government on immigration matters.
The letter to President Biden also highlighted the emotional impact of legislation like SB 4, citing a viral clip of Houston Rep. Armando Walle expressing frustration on the House floor. Walle asserted that such legislation harms families with mixed immigration status and fails to address immigration issues effectively.
In their letter, Hidalgo and her counterparts underscored the need for constructive solutions rather than exploiting immigration fears for political gain, emphasizing that legislation like SB 4 is not the answer to the complex challenges posed by immigration.