A U.S. Supreme Court ruling today allows Texas Senate Bill 4 (88-4), one of the most extreme anti-immigrant laws ever passed by any state legislature in the country, to go into effect immediately. 

The legislation creates a new state crime for unauthorized entry or re-entry into Texas from a foreign country. It puts tremendous power in the hands of local and state law enforcement who are not trained in immigration law and have no proper authority to enforce it. It includes a provision to allow Texas judges to order people leave Texas and go to Mexico without a chance to seek legal protections to which they’re entitled.  

“We’re disappointed by this decision to allow a clearly unconstitutional law to go into effect, putting at risk the basic rights of new arrivals and long-time Borderlands residents,” said Leonardo Castañeda, ACLU of New Mexico Border and Immigration Policy Advocate. “We stand in solidarity with our partners in Texas against this cruel, racist and misguided policy, and urge all New Mexicans traveling to Texas for work, medical care, family reasons or anything else to know their rights ahead of time.” 

The ACLU affiliates of New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, San Diego and Imperial Counties, and Texas issued an advisory in December 2023 warning people traveling through Texas to know their rights and take significant precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones because of extremist laws Texas lawmakers have passed targeting immigrants and people of color.   

The same day, ACLU National, ACLU of Texas, and Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP) filed a lawsuit on behalf of Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, American Gateways, and El Paso County, arguing that S.B. 4 violates the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution and is preempted by federal law.