Saturday, April 20, 2024

Mexico to challenge ‘inhumane’ Texas immigration law

Mexico will challenge a new law in Texas that allows police to arrest migrants who have entered the Lone Star state between official ports of entry, President López Obrador said Tuesday.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Monday signed into law what his government called “a transformative package of border security legislation.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has introduced a number of strict border measures during his administration, many of which have severely disrupted transport links between Mexico and the United States. (Wikimedia Commons)

One law, known as Senate Bill 4 (SB 4) “creates a criminal offense for illegal entry into this state from a foreign nation,” according to a Texas government statement.

The law, which is scheduled to take effect in March, gives police the power to arrest people who have entered Texas illegally from Mexico, or those suspected of doing so, and grants local judges the authority to order undocumented migrants to leave the United States.

“The law cracks down on repeated attempts to enter Texas by creating the offense of illegal reentry and penalizes offenders with up to 20 years in prison,” the Texas government said.

“It also provides the mechanism to order an offender to return to the foreign nation from which the person entered or attempted to enter this state.”

The Associated Press reported that opponents of the Texas government “have called the measure the most dramatic attempt by a state to police immigration since a 2010 Arizona law — denounced by critics as the “Show Me Your Papers” bill — that was largely struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Migrants who enter the United States illegally can already be charged with illegal entry or re-entry under federal laws, Reuters reported, but Abbott “has criticized what he calls U.S. President Joe Biden’s failure to enforce them.”

López Obrador told reporters at his morning news conference that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is “already working on the process” to challenge SB 4.

“I would like to say to our compatriots [in Texas] and to [other] migrants that we’ll be defending you,” he said before asserting that Abbott’s actions are motivated by a desire to be on the U.S. Republican Party’s 2024 presidential ticket as a candidate for vice president.

Migrants attempt to cross the Rio Bravo between Coahuila and Texas. Mexican president López Obrador has already condemned the new measures. (Cuartoscuro)

“With these measures, he wants to gain popularity [but] he’s not going to gain anything. On the contrary, he’s going to lose support because there are a lot of Mexicans in Texas, a lot of migrants,” López Obrador said.

Abbott has “forgotten” that Texas used to be part of Mexico, “that there are 40 million Mexicans in the United States” and that “that great nation was strengthened thanks to the migrants of the world,” he added.

“And he forgets that it says in the Bible that we mustn’t mistreat strangers … and a lot of these leaders [including the Texas governor] are religious and probably go to church,” López Obrador said.

The new law is “inhumane” and “politically motivated,” he said, adding that Abbott is a “man with a malicious nature” or, in simpler terms, a “malo de Malolandia,” or a “baddie from Badland.”

“… We’re going to intervene because … [detaining and deporting migrants] are United States federal government powers, not powers of states,” López Obrador said.

“[Abbott] is usurping powers … that correspond to the [U.S.] Congress and the United States president,” he said.

López Obrador has previously accused the Texas governor of “not acting responsibly” and “trying to get a political advantage” by carrying out strict inspections of trucks entering the Lone Star state and installing anti-migrant floating barriers in the Rio Grande.

He has urged Mexican-Americans to not vote for Abbott or Florida Governor and presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis, who has pledged to make immediate use of the United States military to combat Mexican cartels in Mexico if he becomes U.S. president.

The Mexican government expressed its opposition to a new immigration law in Florida in July.

With reports from Reforma, CNN, AP and Reuters 

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