Texas immigration laws: US-Mexico Border Patrol sees decrease in migrant arrests in March amid Senate Bill 4 being in limbo

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — Fewer migrant people were arrested coming over the U.S.-Mexico border in March than in the months before, according to newly released numbers from the Border Patrol.

According to City of Houston statistics, about 586,000 undocumented migrants lived in our city in 2016.

Those numbers have fluctuated ever since, but it’s clear that as laws change, there’s a lot of confusion.

Yahaira Uribe told ABC13 that she came here from Mexico about 22 years ago.

“My parents were struggling (financially),” Uribe said. “So, they were like, ‘Let’s make the change. Let’s go.'”

She’s a DACA recipient, meaning she can live and work legally in the United States.

“(My parents) don’t know if they’re going to get stopped,” she said about her parents, who are undocumented. “They don’t know if that will be their last day here.”

RELATED: How Texas’ plans to arrest migrants for illegal entry work after SB 4 allowed to take effect

Federal border patrol arrests reached record highs in December but are slowly decreasing.

“It’s difficult to say that it’s an actual trend at this point because we need to see more months in terms of what those months look like,” immigration attorney Ross Miller said. “I think that reflects the Biden Administration working with its partners in Mexico. In particular, we see a lot of Venezuelans who were coming up through Mexico and then reaching the U.S. border, claiming asylum. A lot of those numbers have begun to trend downward.”

In Texas, Senate Bill 4 has caused confusion and possibly impacted immigration numbers.

The law is currently blocked while courts decide if it’s legal. However, it allows local and state police to arrest anyone they suspect is undocumented, which is a jurisdiction that has always been held solely by the federal government.

RELATED: Houston lawmaker says SB4 ‘nothing to do with papers type of law,’ others say it sends bad message

“For the last couple of months, we’ve had a lot of clients calling our firm expressing confusion and concern about the new law, (asking) if it’s going to impact them,” Miller explained. “That kind of back and forth has caused a lot of confusion. So there’s really a lot of fear in the communities that we serve.”

The upcoming presidential election could also affect immigration.

“It’s largely governed by executive action, so when a new administration comes in, although the federal law doesn’t change, the enforcement priorities might change,” Miller said.

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