Lawyers Challenge Texas Law on Harboring Immigrants

By Staff Writer | Jan 26, 2016 08:46 AM EST

A federal lawsuits have been filed on Monday by immigrant rights lawyers as part of their challenging act to the Texas border security bill. The bill is said to allow state authorities to target shelters and landlords for harboring immigrants who are in the country illegally. 

According to ABC News, The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund has requested a judge to look into and deliberate on any unconstitutional part in the said security bill that has been passed in the year 2015. In a countersue filed, a group of landlords are justifying that they will be affected by the federal lawsuits because they do not ask and go over into deeper requirements of asking the immigration status of their apartment occupants.

On the other hand, Republican state representative, Dennis Bonnen, who authored the bill had expressed his opinion about the federal lawsuit that has been filed. He called it 'frivolous' and added that the legislation was not intended to target landlords or shelters, and thus, cannot be used to do so, Associated Press shared. Nina Perales, the lead lawyer with Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund stated otherwise. She claimed that the law is indeed intended to target people who in, all way, do business with immigrants like landlords or people working in humanitarian shelter.

Moreover, if a person found to be harboring immigrants- to Governor Greg Abbott, who signed the bill and put it into law in year 2015 - felony charges will be accounted to the person involved.

Herald Courier cited that the bill states in one of its provision that people who profit from, encourage or induce a person to enter or stay in the country illegally by cause and virtue of "concealing, harboring, or shielding that person from detection can be charge various felony charges."

The mentioned harboring provision was called into question at last year's hearings as potentially vulnerable to a constitutional challenge, because the federal government has authority over immigration.

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