Immigration and States’ Rights
The notions of states’ rights harbor a long-held tradition of bigotry, racism, and genocide.
Recent anti-immigrant proposals in various states across the country directed at non-white migrants reek of the tradition of racism behind arguments for states’ rights. Originally brought to bear prior to, during, and after the Civil War, the argument has shifted from protecting slavery to oppressing other marginalized groups, such as the LGBTQ community and other minority groups, including Black and Brown immigrants.
In Texas, two bills are being proposed to create “Border Protection Units” partially made up of vigilantes and a “Border Protection Court” meant to criminalize migrants. The latter makes not having proper documentation a third-degree felony for crossing the border — increasing the level of offense from a misdemeanor under federal law. This clearly unconstitutional court (more on that later) bars migrants from applying for citizenship at a later date if convicted.
If passed, Texas House Bill 20, authored by state Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler, creates “police” squads made up in part of supposed “law-abiding citizens.” The bill legalizes what mayors, such as Don McLaughlin of Uvalde, are already doing in partnering with extremist groups that target asylum-seekers. Well-funded vigilantes have been patrolling the border since former President Obama’s tenure. Now, this law would give them legal authority making them more dangerous.
Adding to the threats asylum seekers face in Texas is a proposed separate judicial system to adjudicate a migrant’s guilt. If passed, Texas House Bill 7, introduced by state Rep. Ryan Guillen, R-Rio Grande City, creates a court system to try migrants picked up by state-sanctioned mobs. The bill proposes raising public and private money to operate the court and to allow for the continued construction of barriers along the Texas-Mexico border.
In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis also suggests laws targeting migrants that Republicans in the state legislature are promoting. If passed, Florida Senate Bill 1718, introduced by state Senator Blaise Ingoglia, R-District 11, makes it a felony to transport or hide undocumented immigrants (including family…