Mexico asks Fifth Circuit to keep blocking SB4

They definitely have an interest in this.

The Mexican government is urging a federal court to block Texas’ migrant deportation law, arguing it will trample the country’s right to regulate its own borders, terrorize the 2.4 million Mexican nationals living in Texas and threaten crucial cross-border trade.

“The unforeseen ramifications of this law would have a substantial impact and hardship on the Mexican community,” the nation wrote in a brief submitted Thursday as a federal appeals court weighs whether to keep the law on hold.


Mexico’s brief said the law “wholly eviscerates” the long-standing principle that immigration should be handled solely by the federal government. It cites a U.S. Supreme Court ruling from 2012 that struck down portions of an Arizona law authorizing police to arrest anyone suspected of being in the country illegally.

“The U.S. Supreme Court provided the most definitive statement yet on this principle, declaring that it ‘is fundamental that foreign countries concerned about the status, safety, and security of their nationals in the United States must be able to confer and communicate on this subject with one national sovereign, not the 50 separate States,’” the brief said.

The brief also said Mexico is “deeply concerned that enforcement of SB 4 by Texas’ officers could lead to improper harassment, detention, removal, and criminalization of Mexican citizens and individuals of Latino appearance.”

And it said those concerns could put a damper on the $285.6 billion trade relationship between Texas and Mexico, which is the state’s top trading partner.

“If SB 4 is ever fully implemented, Mexican citizens, regardless of their immigration status and country of residence, will be rightly afraid to visit Texas, engage in commercial trucking through Texas, or travel on rail through Texas, for work or pleasure, out of concern that they will be subject to unlawful police scrutiny and detention,” the brief said.

See here for the previous update. Hard to argue with any of that, though there are plenty who will strive to deny it. I don’t know how much weight an amicus brief from Mexico will carry, but they can hardly stand by and not say anything. Mexico has already said that they “will not accept repatriations from the state of Texas”, which adds another level of chaos and uncertainty if this law were allowed to take effect.

It’s also the case, and this has not been extensively discussed so far, that Texas law enforcement agencies themselves aren’t sure what to do with SB4.

“We intend to advise our members to consult with their local legal counsel for guidance,” said Albert Garcia, president of the Texas Police Chiefs Association, a group that aims to advance the development of police executives. “Since Senate Bill 4 grants discretion, it is imperative for each jurisdiction to assess the best course of action based on their unique circumstances.”

Some police entities operating hundreds of miles from the border, like sheriffs in Tarrant and Montgomery counties, have indicated they will enforce S.B. 4. The sheriffs of Tarrant, Collin and Smith counties met with Abbott Wednesday in the Capitol and presented him with a letter signed by 139 sheriffs expressing support for the law and arguing “our unsecured border is directly responsible for numerous criminal victimizations of citizens and non-citizens as well as numerous human rights violations.” Many of those sheriffs were from counties far from the border, where it’s less clear how they can make arrests under the law.

Skylor Hearn, executive director of the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas, said it would be “impossible” for local police to enforce S.B. 4’s illegal entry charge in counties away from the border. The more severe charge for repeat offenders, illegal reentry, could come into play in non-border counties, Hearn said, though he insisted it would take more than a simple traffic stop.

“There’s no way to get probable cause on the side of the road,” Hearn said. “The only way the second offense will ever be filed is someone who was arrested for something else — DWI, burglary, fighting in public, whatever. They go to jail, they’re fingerprinted, and that biometric record makes it up to the federal government and then comes back down. … That’s the only way you can make that case.”

The law may potentially give those agencies farther away from the physical border a law with “more teeth” that could be used strategically, for instance in a situation where a specific suspect not yet arrested is identified as an undocumented person, said Tyler Owen, of the Texas Municipal Police Association, an organization that provides legal services to members who work in all sorts of law enforcement.

Just as tricky as navigating the new law’s enforcement will be ensuring that crime victims who may be undocumented still feel comfortable reporting those crimes — not avoiding police out of fear, Owen said.

“It’s gonna be a balancing act and it’s gonna be something that we’re going to have to tread through together,” Owen said. “Yes we’re cops. But before they’re putting that badge on, they’re human beings.”

There’s no question that one significant effect of SB4 would be a lot of racial profiling and illegal stops and searches of people of color. There would eventually be lawsuits and other responses to all that, but not until a whole lot of harm has taken place. It’s a virtual certainty that other states would follow in our cursed footsteps if this law is allowed to be enforced. And all this is happening as Republicans turned on a very friendly to them bipartisan bill because their lord and master demanded they oppose it because the current status serves his purposes. The cruelty, as ever, is the point.

Related Posts:

This entry was posted in La Migra, Legal matters and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.