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Texas Police Departments Express Confusion Over SB4, New Immigration Law

U.S.Texas Police Departments Express Confusion Over SB4, New Immigration Law

Brad Coe, the sheriff in Kinney County along the Texas border, woke up on Wednesday with one destination in mind: Gov. Greg Abbott’s office.

Sheriff Coe is the lead police authority in a mostly rural county that has embraced the state’s attempt to halt the sharp rise in migrants coming from Mexico. He said he was done with the whiplash of confusing legal orders issued in the past 24 hours over the law.

He wanted to hear from Gov. Abbott himself. “I’m on my way to his office right now,” he said.

He recapped the conflicting directives handed down on whether his department had the legal authority to arrest migrants who have entered the country illegally, under the terms of the new law.

The Supreme Court ruled “that yes we can,” he said, referring to Tuesday’s decision. “But a lower court said no we can’t. The Supreme Court is supposed to be supreme court of the land. Something ain’t right.”

Police departments across Texas, both close to and far from the border, expressed confusion over how to proceed after the Supreme Court briefly allowed the new law to go into effect on Tuesday — and then an appeals court once again halted it.

On Wednesday morning, a panel of three judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit heard more arguments from both the state and federal government about whether the law should go into effect. Many police departments said they would be paying close attention to how the panel ruled before they unveil their plans.


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