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Controversial border security bill heads to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott amid threat of legal action

Controversial border security bill heads to Texas Gov. Abbott amid threat of legal action
Controversial border security bill heads to Texas Gov. Abbott amid threat of legal action 03:07

AUSTIN (CBSNewsTexas) - This week, the Texas Legislature sent a controversial border security bill to Governor Greg Abbott.  

It comes as the ACLU of Texas warned it will file suit against the state once the governor signs Senate Bill 4.

The new law would make it a state crime for a migrant to enter Texas illegally, instead of entering through a legal port of entry.

Republican lawmakers have said they had to take action because the Biden administration isn't doing its job of keeping people from entering the U.S.

 But Democrats call the bill extreme, and David Donatti, Senior Staff Attorney of the ACLU of Texas, said its unconstitutional because the state has no jurisdiction. "This is a power that by the very structure and nature of the United States, sovereignty belongs with the federal government, there is no question."

Because of that, Donatti said he's confident his organization would win any legal challenge they file against the State of Texas.  

ACLU attorney on challenging Texas border bill 15:59

He told CBS News Texas there's another reason they want to sue the state. "We have seen rampant civil rights abuses under this program and with these new laws, we fully anticipate that these consequences are going to increase by an order of magnitude."

If apprehended by a state or county law enforcement officer, a person caught crossing into Texas illegally, instead of going to a legal port of entry, would face a Class B misdemeanor charge in the state.

Representative Victoria Neave Criado, D-Mesquite voted against the bill and said she's worried it will lead to widespread racial profiling. "We are free to live in a nation, not to be questioned about our citizenship, and that's what this bill is going to do. It's going to require an individual to prove whether they are a citizen, because that is the key element of this new crime."

The author of the bill, Representative David Spiller, R-Jacksboro told CBS News Texas earlier this month this is not "a show me your papers" bill. "I want to make clear: This is not a round everybody up who's here illegally and prosecute them. That is not what this law is about. It wasn't before. It isn't now." 

Spiller said those detained would be given due process. "Those folks are taken to an independent magistrate, and determinations are made at that point. After the magistrate gets involved, and people are read their rights, and they have the opportunity to counsel. They have the opportunity, all those things that we would normally have as citizens."

Rep. Victoria Neave Criado discusses why she opposed some border bills 16:15

County leaders, including those in Dallas, have expressed concerns that this border bill will lead to crowded jails and increased costs.

But Spiller said the state would pay for those costs.

Neave Criado said this isn't the right solution. "We do have a crisis on the border. We do have issues on the border that need to be addressed and we need bipartisan solutions, not extreme pieces of legislation or extreme attacks on our community."

In Washington, D.C., a bipartisan group of Senators is trying to hammer out an agreement on reforming the U.S. asylum laws in an attempt to end the crisis at the southern border.

Eye on Politics: One-on-One with TX Rep. David Spiller 15:42
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