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Texas Leads Resurgence in Restrictive State Actions on Immigration Enforcement

May 31, 2017 (1 min read)

Muzaffar Chishti, Sarah Pierce, and Sela Cowger, MPI, May 25, 2017 - "Texas has enacted a new hardline law to crack down on illegal immigration, signaling the re-emergence of restrictionist activism at the state level that stalled in 2012 amid adverse rulings by federal courts. The Texas law, which takes effect September 1, comes on the heels of the Trump administration’s policies to expand immigration enforcement in general, and in particular to penalize so-called sanctuary jurisdictions that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities. While Texas was the first state to pass a sweeping law focused on illegal immigration since the presidential election, at least 32 other states have introduced immigration enforcement bills.

The movement indicates a return to an era that began approximately a decade ago and ended when the Supreme Court struck down key provisions of Arizona’s controversial Senate Bill (SB) 1070 law. Echoes of the Arizona law, which fostered a number of copycat laws in the Southeast, can be found in the Texas law, SB 4.

Designed to end the sanctuary policies of some jurisdictions, the Texas law also allows state and local law enforcement officers to inquire into the immigration status of noncitizens who are detained or arrested, as well as that of victims or witnesses to crimes. Already, three lawsuits involving the Texas law have been filed, and the legal parallels with SB 1070 mean the outcome and fallout of the Arizona law will be carefully examined in the Texas case. [More...]"