What’s going on with SB 4?

April 12, 2024

Over the past few weeks, there has been a lot of confusion about SB 4’s status. If you remember, SB 4 is the bill that would charge invaders with a Class B Misdemeanor for entering the country illegally. Their punishment would include 6 months of jail time for their first attempt. If they tried again, the charge could increase to a second-degree felony and up to 20 years in prison. Or, if the illegal alien agrees to return to Mexico, a judge could drop the charges. 

This common-sense measure is crucial in light of the federal government’s failure to enforce immigration laws. With border apprehensions skyrocketing and criminal elements exploiting porous borders, Texas has taken the initiative to protect its citizens and uphold the rule of law.

While the federal government clearly won’t do anything to close the border, it is actively working to keep it open. That’s why, in January, the Biden Administration sued the State of Texas to stop the law from taking effect at its scheduled date on March 5th, 2024. They claimed that SB 4 was unconstitutional because it took away the federal government’s power to dictate what happens at the border. Their refusal to cooperate reflects their disrespect for states’ rights and their careless attitude toward national security.

Contrary to the fearmongering of the left, SB 4 does not entail mass deportations or arbitrary detention. Instead, it empowers law enforcement to uphold the law and protect communities from criminal elements that exploit lax border security. The notion that Texas is acting unilaterally is misleading; it is merely exercising its rightful authority to secure its borders and uphold public safety.

Next, a district judge issued a preliminary injunction which the State of Texas appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The court dismissed the injunction. However, the decision made its way up to the Supreme Court, where they decided to have the law go into effect before changing their decision shortly after. Now, the case is back in the hands of the fifth circuit, where they recently heard oral arguments. A final ruling has not been made yet. 

Critics may decry SB 4 as draconian, but in reality, it is an appropriate response to an unprecedented crisis. By classifying illegal border crossings as misdemeanors and felonies, Texas sends a clear message: breaking the law will not go unpunished. Moreover, the provision requiring judges to order migrants returned to Mexico upon conviction is not only lawful but also pragmatic in light of strained resources.

Texas does, in fact, have a right to secure her border, and efforts like these from the Biden Administration prove their disdain for national sovereignty. The outcome of this struggle will not only determine the fate of SB 4 but also set a precedent for states’ rights and the balance of power between state and federal governments. In the face of federal overreach, Texas must stand as a beacon of liberty and resilience, and fight to ensure the border is secure. 

Article submitted to True Texas Project.