Texas’ new border law will hurt children and taxpayers, experts say

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Semafor Signals

Insights from El Financiero, The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, and El Paso Matters


Mexico’s president said Tuesday that he will challenge a new Texas law that gives state authorities power to detain and deport suspected undocumented immigrants.

“We’re always going to be against these measures, and we want to say to our countrymen and migrants that we’re defending them,” said President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. He accused Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott of pursuing a personal political motive to be a vice presidential contender.

Several civil rights groups, including the ACLU, sued Texas on Tuesday, alleging that the law was unconstitutional.

The Biden administration has rebuked the controversial law – known as SB4 – for circumventing federal authorities, paving a path to a Supreme Court showdown, as Republicans slam the White House for not funding border protection.


Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Advocates say Texas’ anti-immigration legislation is “rooted in racism”

Sources: El Financiero, ACLU, Mexican-American Legislative Caucus of Texas

The law means authorities “can detain you just for your appearance,” fueling a “climate of persecution…especially against Hispanics, Mexicans, and citizens of other nationalities,” wrote Mexican columnist Leonardo Kourchenko for El Financiero. He warned those traveling to Texan cities on business not to be a “victim of abuse,” and advised them to always carry their passports and visas. Groups like the ACLU and the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus have accused SB4 of being “rooted in racism.” The organizations called out Texas for Strong Borders — an anti-immigration lobbying group that pushed for the state legislature to pass SB4 — of having reported links to white supremacist Nick Fuentes.

The law could violate children's rights

Sources: Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, Customs and Border Protection

Advocates warn that children as young as 10 face a high risk of having their rights violated by the law. The number of unaccompanied children crossing the border has skyrocketed since the COVID pandemic, reaching a record high of more than 152,000 minors in 2022, according to government data. The asylum ban in the U.S. already expedites the deportation of children and families, the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights said, and SB4 will only “exacerbate these conditions” by separating families, rather than protecting children. A federal judge recently prohibited separating families at borders for eight years.

SB4 will hurt taxpayers

Sources: El Paso Matters

Abbott is spending millions on the border in the name of public safety, but there has been little impact on drug flow or crime rates, wrote Democratic El Paso County Commissioner David Stout. The new law will require Texan taxpayers to fund expansive new criminal infrastructure to account for the estimated 88,000 additional arrests per year, Stout explained, costing at least $162 million in El Paso County alone. Texas should instead focus on “investing in immigrants, and in the trade and cultural exchange opportunities,” Stout suggested, citing studies showing that both documented and undocumented immigrants contribute to lower rates of crime and higher rates of entrepreneurship than native-born Texans.