Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed three new measures into law Monday to assist law enforcement in dealing with the ongoing border crisis.
During the past special legislative session, lawmakers passed two measures. Senate Bill 3 provides funding for border barrier infrastructure, while Senate Bill 4 makes it a crime to enter the state illegally.
In Brownsville, Abbott ceremonially signed both measures into law. The measures will go into effect on March 5. He also ceremonially signed Senate Bill 4 from the third special legislative session, which increases the criminal penalties for human smuggling and operating a stash house.
At the signing, Abbott criticized the Biden administration for the ongoing crisis, highlighting the decisions to end effective Trump-era policies and the “deliberate inaction” that has left Texas to “fend for itself.”
Altogether since Joe Biden has been president, when you count those apprehended, and the known gotaways, it adds up to about 8 million people crossing the border illegally.
Abbott highlighted the national security threat of the ongoing crisis and mentioned the “294 people on the terrorist watchlist who’ve been apprehended” crossing the border under Biden.
“The authors of the United States Constitution foresaw a situation when the federal government would be inattentive to states that faced charges at their borders,” said Abbott. “And in response, they inserted Article One Section 10 to the United States Constitution, to empower states to take action to defend themselves. And that is exactly what Texas is doing.”
“Ronald Reagan once said, Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall,” added Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. “I say to Joe Biden, Mr. Biden, build up that wall; we need it across Texas and New Mexico and Arizona and California to protect American citizens.”
When questioned on the constitutionality of SB 4 from the fourth special session, Abbott said it has been crafted in a way that “can and should be upheld by the courts.”
Abbot was also asked what Texas would do if Mexico refuses to accept the individuals Texas sends back across the border under SB 4. “Mexico can stop all of this,” said Abbott in response.
“Mexico actually is a cause of part of this,” he added. “Why is Mexico allowing so many illegal immigrants into their country and then fast-tracking them to the state of Texas? What [Mexican President] Lopez-Obrador has done is reprehensible, subjecting thousands upon thousands of people to torture, to rape, to assault, to even death. And he just fast-tracks them to the state of Texas and thinks he can condemn Texas because of it. That’s outrageous. He needs to understand that he is a large reason for the migration problem that we have in the United States of America. And we’re going to send them right back to Mexico.”
The American Civil Liberties Union has already promised to sue the state over SB 4—meaning it could be tied up in litigation for years before it is implemented.