Media Contact

Kristi Gross, ACLU of Texas, [email protected]
Gabby Arias, ACLU, [email protected], 908-230-3166

October 26, 2023

AUSTIN, Texas — During a special legislative session, the Texas House early Thursday morning passed three anti-immigrant bills that will impact U.S. citizens and migrants. The votes come amid new revelations about the links between white supremacists and certain Texas politicians promoting these bills.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and the ACLU condemn the advancement of House Bills 4 and 6 — which move to the Senate — and the passage of Senate Bill 4, which now goes to Governor Greg Abbott for his signature.

H.B. 4 would manufacture a new state crime, turning asylum-seekers and other immigrants into criminals so that Texas officials can arrest and deport them without due process, regardless of whether they qualify for protection under federal law.

H.B. 6 would funnel $1.5 billion of Texas tax dollars to build a border wall.

S.B. 4 would significantly expand enforcement of the state’s criminal “human smuggling” laws, which already serve as tools for prosecutorial abuse against humanitarian workers, by imposing a mandatory 10-year minimum in most cases.

The following quote can be attributed to David Donatti, senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Texas:

“We cannot overstate the harm these bills will cause to migrants, residents, and the rule of law in our state. These policies are unprecedented but the script is familiar. Once again, our elected officials have opted for inflammatory rhetoric, mass incarceration, and wasteful spending in lieu of governance. We must treat immigration like the human right that it is and create a humane, fair, and welcoming process.”

The following quote can be attributed to Anand Balakrishnan, senior staff attorney at the ACLU:

“The Texas legislature can't override federal immigration laws and replace them with outlandish schemes of its own invention. Today's actions try to do exactly that — and to guarantee that citizens and non-citizens will be subjected to racial profiling and harassment in the bargain. This is an ignorant and dangerous move.”