ACLU issues warning for New Mexicans traveling to Texas
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — As you’re finalizing your holiday travel plans for this weekend, the ACLU has a warning about traveling to Texas.
Gov. Greg Abbott signed multiple bills Monday, saying they are necessary to protect the state.
“The authors of the U.S. Constitution foresaw a situation when the federal government would be inattentive to states that faced challenges at their borders,” Abbott said. “And in response, they inserted Article One, Section 10, to the United States Constitution to empower states to take action to defend themselves. And that is exactly what Texas is doing.”
One law provides $1.5 billion to secure the Texas border, and another imposes penalties for illegally smuggling immigrants. Another law makes it a state crime to enter Texas from another country without permission.
“I think there’s very strong evidence that this is completely unconstitutional,” said Leo Castañeda with the ACLU of New Mexico. “The Supreme Court has previously ruled that immigration enforcement is the exclusive domain of the federal government.”
The ACLU of New Mexico has joined several other states to issue a warning about traveling to Texas.
“These laws are emboldened and have more aggressive prosecution against immigrants or migrants or people related to, you know, connected to immigration,” Castañeda said. “Especially people who are Latino, or Asian, or Black, who might be seen as immigrants by law enforcement, should take these precautions.”
When signing the bills, Abbott explained how enforcement would work.
“When they see somebody crossing over the border, as the National Guard see, as the Texas Department of Public Safety see, they’re not profiling,” Abbott said. “They are seeing with their own eyes people who are violating the law.”
The ACLU says they will be challenging the laws in federal court, but in the meantime, they are making sure Texas travelers know their rights.
“If they’re visiting family members, it’s a good opportunity to have a conversation with them about security measures they might need to take,” Castañeda said. “You know, if you have family members who maybe don’t have the proper documentation or don’t normally carry it with them. This is a good time to start having conversations about proper digital security and proper protections.”
For more information on the ACLU’s Texas travel advisory, click here.