Kevin Noe Campos Villa, a Tijuana resident, acknowledged his involvement
SB4 grants Texas state a role in the arrest and deportation of migrants. HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP

Over 200 protesters took to the streets of downtown Dallas on Sunday afternoon to demand the cessation of Senate Bill 4, the Texas law allowing state authorities to arrest and deport migrants who cross unlawfully into its territory.

Protesters argued that, if enacted, the law could pose a significant risk to migrants and the Latino population across the state. It was set to go into effect this month, but at the moment it's entangled in legal scrutiny after the Justice Department challenged it before the courts. It's currently halted as the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals debates on its merits.

This legislation establishes new state-level crimes for undocumented migrants entering Texas, granting Department of Public Safety officers and local law enforcement, such as the police, sheriff's deputies, and state troopers, broader authority to apprehend individuals suspected of having entered the country illegally, with deportation to Mexico upon conviction mandated by a judge.

"The unconstitutional law is one of the most extreme pieces of anti-immigrant legislation any state legislature has ever enacted," said Tony Rodriguez, chair of the Brown Berets of DFW and one of the rally organizers, as reported by NBC5 in Dallas-Fort Worth News.

Critics of SB4 argue that giving such power to Texas law enforcement violates constitutional principles, potentially leading to racial profiling and discrimination. The Justice Department has highlighted that implementing migration-related laws falls under the sole purview of the federal government.

"Basically, it gives them a free hand to just racially discriminate," said Xavier Velasquez, President of La Frontera Nos Cruzó. "They can see a brown person and say oh, I think you're here illegally, and detain you."

A dozen social justice and advocacy groups, including the Dallas Brown Berets, North Texas LULAC, the Dallas Anti-War Committee, and the Party for Socialism and Liberation of Dallas-Fort Worth, were among the participants of the Sunday rally.

Isabel Márquez, a pastor at Oak Lawn United Methodist Church, said SB4 "harms people who are already in the country working, contributing and having families," as per The Dallas Morning News.

SB4 has raised concerns on the other side of the border as well. Last week, the Mexican Foreign Ministry stated that the measures promoted by the Texas Congress and enacted by Governor Greg Abbott "encourage the separation of families, discrimination, and racial profiling." The government also announced that Mexico will participate as an Amicus Curiae before the Fifth District Court of Appeals in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said on Wednesday that the state still "has the legal authority to arrest" those who cross the border illegally, and highlighted that the Texas Department of Public Safety has already arrested over 40,000 individuals for alleged illegal border crossings.

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