HomeNationalControversial Texas policies under Operation Lone Star becoming a standard, other states...

Controversial Texas policies under Operation Lone Star becoming a standard, other states to follow

Texas has implemented various contentious strategies and legislation to secure the border. In recent years, the state has faced significant public scrutiny for these actions, ultimately resulting in several lawsuits with the federal government. Despite widespread criticism, Texas Governor Greg Abbott justifies the state’s actions by pointing to a lack of federal assistance at the border.

Busing migrants, razor wire, buoy barriers…

Since initiating Operation Lone Star, Texas has relocated over 100,000 undocumented immigrants to sanctuary cities in states governed by Democrats. These measures, which include the installation of razor wire and floating buoy barriers along the border, prompted legal challenges from the federal administration. Nevertheless, Texas officials, backed by Republican politicians from various states, persist in implementing these policies, claiming it is within the state’s constitutional rights to protect the border.

Texas Senate Bill 4

Among all controversies, Texas Senate Bill 4 is the one that stands out, as it caught the attention of millions around the nation. Currently suspended by a federal appeals court, this legislation was set to be enacted in March. It would give state officials the authority to detain and deport undocumented immigrants, a role traditionally reserved for federal agencies. This bill has faced strong opposition from advocacy groups within Texas and beyond for several months.

Idaho set to implement identical law

The Idaho House of Representatives passed a bill on Friday that targets unauthorized migrants, mirroring the provisions of Texas Senate Bill 4. House Bill 753 was approved with a vote of 53-15, with opposition from five Republicans and all attending Democrats. The bill criminalizes unauthorized entry into Idaho by non-U.S. citizens from a foreign country without using an official port of entry and authorizes law enforcement to verify immigration status. Additionally, a magistrate judge has the authority to order the return of individuals in the U.S. illegally to their country of origin.

Idaho House of Representatives passed a bill on Friday that targets unauthorized migrants, mirroring the controversial Texas Senate Bill 4.
Credit: Gov. Greg Abbott, X (former Twitter), private profile

Illegal immigration in the focus of the election

The debate over illegal immigration has intensified lately, with Donald Trump, the likely candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, emphasizing a strict immigration policy as a central part of his campaign. The Center for Immigration Studies, an organization advocating for stringent border controls, claims that since Joe Biden became president in January 2021, approximately 3.7 million migrants have entered the U.S. illegally.

Similarities

Large portions of the Idaho legislation are directly taken from Texas’s Senate Bill 4, signed into law by Governor Abbott in December 2023. Both laws include similar language regarding the penalties for unauthorized entry by aliens from a foreign nation through non-legal ports of entry. For instance, both bills have the very same text: “A person who is an alien commits an offense if the person enters or attempts to enter this state directly from a foreign nation at any location other than a lawful port of entry.”

On March 26, the Supreme Court agreed that Texas Senate Bill 4 could take effect following a 6-3 ruling, but just hours later, it was suspended again by a federal appeals court. Texas Senate Bill 4 caused controversy as it would give state authorities the power to detain and deport illegal migrants, which has typically been seen as a federal responsibility.

Idaho House of Representatives passed a bill on Friday that targets unauthorized migrants, mirroring the controversial Texas Senate Bill 4.
Credit: US Customs and Border Patrol, Facebook official

Problem for Biden

Illegal immigration has emerged as the top political topic since the presidential campaigns began. For Biden, illegal immigration is a huge problem, something that Trump uses against his opponent on a daily basis. A recent Associated Press/NORC survey found 68 percent of American adults disapproved of Biden’s migration policy, against just 31 percent who approved.

Last week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbot met with House Speaker Mike Johnson. Branding the crisis at the border as “both unacceptable and avoidable,”  Abbott once again repeated the urgent need for passing federal legislation to prevent illegal activity between official crossing points.

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