Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signs immigration law allowing migrant arrests
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed into law Monday legislation that authorizes state officials to arrest and seek the deportation of migrants who have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border without legal authorization.
Why it matters: The new law that's due to take effect in March is a major escalation in Abbott's pushback against President Biden's border policies and one that critics say is unconstitutional and could lead to racial profiling.
State of play: The legislation, known as Senate Bill 4, passed the Republican-led Senate and House last month despite objections from Democrats.
- The legislation would make it a state misdemeanor to illegally cross the border and a second-degree felony for illegal re-entry, with punishments ranging from 180 days in jail to 20 years in prison.
- It would also permit a judge to order an undocumented person "to return to the foreign nation from which they entered."
What we're watching: SB 4 is likely to face legal challenges.
Between the lines: Legal experts argue it violates long-standing U.S. Supreme Court precedent and goes far beyond Arizona's divisive Senate Bill 1070, which Axios' Astrid Galván and Nicole Cobler note the high court partially struck down.
Zoom out: Abbott and other Republican governors have for months been challenging Biden's border policies, bussing thousands of migrants to Democrat-run cities after record numbers arrived amid a global humanitarian crisis.
- The Biden administration is challenging Texas officials in the courts after they installed razor wire fencing and buoy barriers with blades at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Go deeper: What Texas spends on busing migrants
Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.