Irregular Migrant in Texas: What Could You Do if SB4 Comes Into Effect?

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A question that any irregular migrant aiming to enter the United States through the Texas border or already there might ask is what would happen if SB4 comes into effect.

It would be challenging for anyone undertaking the long journey of irregular migration today to be unaware of this project, one of the strictest immigration laws, debated in U.S. courts without Texas being able to enforce it yet.

That would still be the good news. The bad news for these individuals is that, barring any change in decision, it could start to be applied from next Monday, March 18, at 5 p.m.

This decision was approved days ago by Federal Judge Samuel Alito, giving one more extension for judges to deliberate and reach a conclusion, but nothing has been said yet.

The Biden administration intends to contest it, and the state administration of Greg Abbott wants to end the migration crisis with this instrument, qualified as extreme and inhumane.

The reality indicates that irregular migrants are caught in a legal battle that seems endless and endangers the thousands, including Cubans, who find themselves in this part of the northern country without immigration status to protect them.

The law would grant police the power to stop and deport those without documents legalizing their stay and would also add other sentences such as fines and deprivation of liberty of up to 6 months for illegal border crossing and up to 20 years for those who reoffend.

A police officer, for example, would have the right to stop you on any street if you seem suspicious to them and ask about your status, and if you are stopped in a car under that condition, your companion will also suffer legal sanctions.

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Abbott continues defending the idea that SB4 will be the best way to stop the uncontrolled migratory flow through the southwest border, where, until October 2023, according to official CBP data, there were more than 188,000 encounters with migrants attempting to enter the United States.

Now the law could come into effect or could be postponed again, all depending on what happens in the coming hours.

More detentions, arrests, and deportations are then expected, but we could still offer you some advice if you are detained under SB4:

  • You can request a consultation with a lawyer for guidance or request a hearing with a judge.
  • You could request a hearing date in court and ask for bail.
  • We do not recommend signing a voluntary departure.

Something clear is that, even if you follow these tips, we could not guarantee that the Texan authorities would allow you to remain in their territory if the law comes into effect.

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Yanelis Barrientos Fernández

Formada en Comunicación Social en la Universidad de La Habana; posteriormente, me sumergí en el fascinante mundo digital, especializándome en Periodismo Digital