Growing Problem of Immigration in Texas

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Out of the other states in the United States, Texas is second-most populous. The establishment of Texas had based its growth on Empresarios and settlers from the newly established America. They needed loose immigration laws for American settlers colonizing Texas. That has been the case for much of Texas’ history. Now, immigration laws have gotten stricter, but that has not stopped people from entering the country. The majority of the population is Hispanic, with numerous them being undocumented immigrants. How the country handled these people has changed over the years, with new policies added every so often. There are discrepancies between what the federal government wants and what the states want. But in the end, the federal government has the most say.

It is their responsibility to set and enforce immigration policies (Ballotpedia Writing Staff). However, that does not stop states, like Texas, from trying to overturn federal policy and implementing their laws, like Senate Bill 4, known as SB4. Texas is notorious for its passion for states’ rights. They fight for limited government and go against many policies, implementing their own rules stricter than federal laws. Texas has followed through with federal guidelines on immigration, allowing some undocumented immigrants, mainly children, parents, workers, and students to stay in the country and state. Yet, they have challenged the constitutionality of many of these policies and found ways to crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

Many of these Texans have gained fire and support from their president, who advocates for much stricter immigration policies and revoking aid programs for undocumented immigrants. Even the current president, Donald Trump, has tried to do away with DACA, which was established by the former president, Barack Obama. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton supported Trump and his desire to do away with the program and said it was a “lawless exercise of executive power” (Aguilar). However, he has yet to be successful as have many others.

On June 18, 2020, The Supreme Court ruled against Trump and his efforts to end the DACA program, allowing “more than 700,000 dreamers” to “retain their protection from deportation and their authorization to work in the United States — safe… through the November election” (Julia Fine, NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth).

Texas has and always will need to deal with the issue of illegal immigration and the rising number in undocumented immigrants by making updated policies crucial to keeping not only order but keeping Americans and immigrants safe in this country.

The number of immigrants, the majority from Mexico, has surged, leaving Texas and the United States to decide how to handle all of them, especially the ones that came over the illegal way. Smuggling of people, narcotics, and other goods has always been an issue across the American/Mexican border defined by the Rio Grande. A News Script from September 30, 1969, 8:25 a.m. broadcasted in Fort Worth Texas, particularly details how the U.S. cracked down on these smugglers by using increased border security checks, causing conflicts between Mexican Businessmen and America and decline in tourism (WBAP-TV Television station: Fort Worth 2018). Albeit this was 51 years ago, it demonstrates the ongoing struggle America and Texas have had with controlling the border and who enters and exits Texas and the rest of the country.

Immigration is a topic that has deepened partisan divisions. The majority of Republicans are against open borders, and many want a wall built. These Republicans are mainly rural and suburban dwelling white Americans who view immigrants, especially undocumented immigrants, as a menace to society that all need to be deported. Democrats, on the other hand, do not want a wall, and many want an open-border. The Democratic party consists of mainly urban dwelling white Americans, many African Americans, and Hispanics. The partisan divide directly applies to Senate Bill 4 in Texas. The major cities in Texas are quite Democratic and have openly opposed this bill. However, rural towns and suburbs that identify as Republicans are in support of it. These parties are on opposite spectrums on immigration, which has made it difficult for compromise.

Politicians have been going head to head, trying to deal with the growing issue of undocumented immigrants and illegal immigration. Charles Perry decided to do something about the problem by creating SB4. Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the bill on May 17, 2017. It is concerned about the enforcement of immigration laws and the duties of law enforcement with certain arrested persons (Perry). The bill states that the police can ask someone to show their papers, which indicates whether they are in the state legally or not. It also specifies that policies cannot stop law enforcement from asking people their status (Mansoor and Pollock). Those for SB4 say it is necessary for protecting people from undocumented criminals (VICE News). However, those against saw it as a poor decision, and many were not quiet about it. After the bill got signed, public outcry began. Luis Roberto Vera told the Texas Observer how he handled the news.

“On the night that Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 4 into law, Luis Roberto Vera didn’t sleep. Instead, the 61-year-old civil rights attorney holed up in his office, working on a lawsuit. “I went all night all day didn’t take a bath, nothin’,” he said. The next day, Vera filed the first legal challenge to SB4 on behalf of El Cenizo — a tiny border town with the oldest “sanctuary” ordinance in the state. Since then, a flurry of legal challenges has emerged from other cities and counties, setting up a battle that will play out over the hot Texas summer and beyond.” (The Texas Observer, Bova Gus)

Many people question what gives officers the right to ask for their papers without probable cause and worry it will lead to racial targeting. A Latino police officer even commented on how this bill has not made communities safer but has put them in danger. (VICE News) However, the majority of Texans were in support of this bill, leaving legislative challenges at a loss, and keeping SB4 in effect. Combating the surge of illegal immigrants and dealing with the undocumented immigrants already in Texas is no easy task.

Texas has followed federal policies, but one politician thought the state needed more laws to protect Texans. Senate Bill 4 gave “police departments and governmental immigration agents the power to conduct immigration checks on anyone in detainment” and forced “local government and law enforcement to comply with the work of federal immigration officers” Counties like El Paso, along with cities, including Houston, Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio, have filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of this bill (Writers of the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative). Cities and states challenging federal policies is not a new occurrence. However, it is not just opposing for the sake of going against the government. They want to create a way for local/state and federal governments to work and make policies independently. (Lasch et al.) Even between the state, immigration policies have yet passed without someone questioning its constitutionality.

In the end, compromise is the only solution to the growing problem of immigration in Texas, specifically with the debate of programs and policies and state-enacted bills. Texas and America cannot take a partisan position on a matter such as this. There are always two sides to every story. Taking a non-partisan approach will allow lawmakers and government officials to gather information from both sides of an issue. For example, discussing with people why they want to do away with the Texas Senate Bill 4 and why others may still want it. From there, decisions will better satisfy both sides more than if they were to continue battling it out with each other in court. The issue of whether to keep programs that help undocumented immigrants and how to better secure the border will never go away. By mobilizing Texans and others in this country and using existing policies and interest groups to their advantage, this country can finally get closer to solving issues surrounding immigration in Texas.

Cite this paper

Growing Problem of Immigration in Texas. (2022, Feb 22). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/growing-problem-of-immigration-in-texas/



How did immigrants contribute to the growth of Texas?
Mexican immigrants were hired to work on Texas ranches and farms. They also started their own businesses, which created jobs for other Texans.
What are problems caused by immigration?
The problems caused by immigration are many and varied, but they can broadly be categorized as economic, social, and political problems.
When did immigration become a problem in Texas?
In Texas, immigration has been a problem since the early 1800s. The state has a long history of border disputes and has been a main entry point for illegal immigrants into the United States.
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