Texas SB4 Law Sets Damaging Precedent for Similar Bills that Endanger Immigrant Families

March 19, 2024
Last modified: 
March 19, 2024

WASHINGTON, March 19, 2024 On March 19, the Supreme Court issued a contorted procedural maneuver that will allow Texas’s Senate Bill 4 (SB4) to temporarily go into effect. Signed into law last November and facing heated litigation since then, SB4 allows local law enforcement to detain and jail people suspected of entering the United States without authorization. It also empowers state judges to issue deportation orders. The Department of Justice, the County of El Paso, and two non-profits have all filed suit against the State of Texas, and say the law is unconstitutional as it usurps the role of the federal government in immigration enforcement.  

The following statement is from Kate Melloy Goettel, senior legal director at the American Immigration Council:  

SB4 is cruel, inhumane, and clearly unconstitutional. And it is being mimicked in state legislatures across the country that put immigrant communities and families at risk. All these bills could result in significant civil rights abuses, leading to widespread arrests and deportations by state actors without key federal protections. Our hope is that SB4 is ultimately blocked in court; otherwise, this sets a disastrous precedent.”  

Rather than pushing inhumane bills that result in persecution and abuse for immigrant families, state and local governments should focus their energy on working with federal authorities to coordinate receiving migrants at the border,” added Melloy Goettel.We have a blueprint for fixing our broken immigration system, and politically motivated and hateful laws like SB4 don’t solve any of our root problems, it only creates more chaos.” 

“This ruling means my family in Texas has to live in insecurity and fear day-to-day,said Andrea Ramos, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program recipient and communications specialist at the American Immigration Council. “Our political leaders need to focus on delivering actual solutions for our broken immigration system, instead of passing hateful laws like this one that puts my and countless other families' civil rights at risk.”  


Explore the Council’s additional resources on SB4: 


For more information, contact:

Elyssa Pachico at the American Immigration Council, [email protected] or 503 850 8407


About the American Immigration Council

The American Immigration Council works to strengthen America by shaping how America thinks about and acts towards immigrants and immigration and by working toward a more fair and just immigration system that opens its doors to those in need of protection and unleashes the energy and skills that immigrants bring. The Council brings together problem solvers and employs four coordinated approaches to advance change—litigation, research, legislative and administrative advocacy, and communications. In January 2022, the Council and New American Economy merged to combine a broad suite of advocacy tools to better expand and protect the rights of immigrants, more fully ensure immigrants’ ability to succeed economically, and help make the communities they settle in more welcoming. Follow the latest Council news and information on ImmigrationImpact.com and Twitter @immcouncil. 


Media Contact

Elyssa Pachico
[email protected]

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