The new law in Texas, Senate Bill 4, which makes entering the state illegally a crime, has caused confusion and fear among undocumented migrants and mixed-status families along the US-Mexico border.
Advocates are concerned about potential racial profiling, detentions, and deportations by state authorities.
Critics argue that the law is unconstitutional and civil rights groups have filed a lawsuit against the state. (Trending: Assault Weapons Ban Set To Take Effect, Here’s What To Know)
The law’s enforcement is seen as encroaching on federal authority, and there are concerns about its impact on community safety and trust in law enforcement.
The law comes at a time of increased migration at the southern border, and it reflects a broader disagreement between the state and the federal government over immigration policies.
“There are a lot of unknowns about how this law will be implemented,” Houston immigration attorney Roberto Quijano said.
“We have a lot of concerns about racial profiling and racism,” nonprofit Arise Adelante’s Ramona Casas said.
“These laws open the door for that. They threaten families.”
“Immigration is a quintessentially federal authority,” the American Civil Liberties Union said.
“Just in Harris County, there are 500,000 undocumented immigrants. These individuals work hard like all of us and they face crime like any of us. They’re survivors of domestic violence. They want to protect their children and their families. Now they’re going to feel like they can’t call the police because the police is … ICE,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo.
“The day it goes into effect, it will disastrously make every Texan less safe by eroding fundamental community trust with law enforcement,” said Dylan Corbett, executive director of the Hope Border Institute in El Paso.
“We want to remind the community to remain calm,” Cesar Espinosa said.
“Although they are bad laws, they have yet to be implemented. At this point we also have questions about how and if they may be even be able to be implemented.”