Human Rights First Decries Texas Immigration Laws and Urges Biden Administration to Take Immediate Action
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First condemns and opposes the passage of the anti-immigrant and flagrantly unlawful state laws in Texas that infringe on federal authority over immigration and violate the rights of people seeking asylum.
“With these actions, Texas is endangering the lives of people seeking refuge from persecution. These laws violate United States law and international refugee treaties,” said Eleanor Acer, Senior Director of Refugee Protection at Human Rights First. “The Biden administration must take swift action to challenge these cruel state laws. Failure to stand up to xenophobic and unlawful policies will only encourage more of the same.”
This week, Senate Bill 4 (S.B. 4) was signed into law, creating new state criminal offenses for entering the country without authorization. It also authorizes state judges to issue deportation and expulsion orders. These offenses carry harsh penalties, including twenty years of imprisonment and removal from the United States.
S.B. 4 violates U.S. law and treaty obligations that prohibit the return of asylum seekers to persecution and punishment for seeking asylum. It is inconsistent with U.S. refugee law, likely violating the U.S. Constitution. The Biden administration and the Department of Justice must take urgent action to halt this law and hold the State of Texas accountable.