Greg Abbott Signs Bill Making It a State Crime to Enter Texas Illegally

The Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law a bill on Monday that makes it a crime for someone to enter Texas without permission. It also empowers state and local authorities to arrest and remove illegal immigrants.

Senate Bill 4 grants state and local governments the authority to arrest any illegal immigrants entering Texas from Mexico outside of officially designated ports. SB 4 allows those who illegally cross the border to be charged with state misdemeanors and sentenced up to a year in jail. If illegal immigrants commit additional crimes, or do not comply with the judge’s order, they can be charged with a felony, which carries a maximum 20-year sentence.

State judges can also deport illegal immigrants to Mexico, if they so choose, instead of prosecuting them under federal law. The bill was passed by both the state house and senate last month. It will now take effect in march after it has been enacted.

Critics claim that the bill is in violation of a Supreme Court decision from 2012, Arizona v. U.S. which prohibits states to implement their own immigration laws. Arizona’s “show your papers” law, which was repealed in 2013, was criticized as exceeding federal authority. The Court’s ruling leaves the creation of immigration laws and policies to the federal government. However, Texas Republicans claim that the current border crisis requires state action.


Abbott, who signed the bill in Brownsville (Texas), said that Biden’s deliberate inaction had left Texas on its own.

However, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas opposes state efforts to crackdown on an increasing influx of illegal immigration into the U.S.

“S.B. “S.B. The bill is a violation of international and federal laws and interferes in the asylum process. It could cause further trauma and distress for asylum seekers, including children and families. Texans deserve their needs to be met and not crueler treatment that would further harm our communities.

The ACLU, and other similar organizations, are calling for the Justice Department’s intervention and urging the Biden Administration to sue Texas in relation to the new measure and Operation Lone Star – the state’s illegal immigration initiative.

This move will likely escalate tensions in the recent months between the Biden and Abbott administrations, who have been fighting each other over the border crisis. Texas has claimed that the federal government doesn’t do enough to curb illegal immigration. The White House and Justice Department, however, have actively challenged the state-sanctioned razor wire and buoy barriers along the Rio Grande.

According to a report by U.S. Customs and Border Protection released last month, nearly 189,000 illegal immigrants crossed the southern border during October. This figure was down 14 percent from the September figures.