Know Your Rights, Travel Advisory Map Available for All Texans as Texas’ SB 4 Immigration Law on Human Smuggling Goes into Effect

(San Antonio, Texas)—This week, Texas’ SB 4 immigration law on human smuggling went into effect.  The law creates a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for those convicted of smuggling immigrants or running a stash house.

“This law is so broadly written that anyone taking someone to work, a doctor’s appointment, or even an Uber driver picking up passengers could be arrested for violating this hateful law.  It is a license for racial profiling,” said Policy Attorney & Specialist Jennefer Canales-Pelaez with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC).

The ILRC, in partnership with Houston Leads, Tahirih Justice Center, Woori Juntos and others, have developed a Know Your Rights Community Presentation to educate people on what this SB 4, and another SB 4 law related to “illegal entry” scheduled to take effect on March 5th, will do and how they can protect themselves.

The Biden administration’s failure to challenge Gov. Greg Abbott’s unlawful Operation Lone Star (OLS)—targeted at migrants crossing the Southern Border—has emboldened Abbott and other anti-immigrant lawmakers to craft hateful laws like SB 4 on human smuggling. Inaction has allowed OLS to spread to counties hundreds of miles from the border.

The ILRC also has developed a travel advisory map with the goal of protecting all Texans by showing which counties have implemented anti-immigrant policies and actions, particularly under OLS.

“Unfortunately, Texas has become a state with a strong pro-incarceration and anti-immigrant stance. Immigrants and people of color face varying degrees of danger when they travel throughout the state,” said Senior Texas Strategist Carolina Canizales. “This map aims to educate all Texans and its visitors on the harms that have been put into place by local and state lawmakers who are embracing a statewide template of hate.”

Since Abbott implemented OLS in March 2021, this scheme has dramatically increased the state infrastructure to criminalize and deport people in Texas. As of December 2023, at least 58 counties are complicit with this operation, which has resulted in the criminalization of more than 10,000 asylum seekers, border residents, and long-term immigrant residents in the state. Even U.S. citizens have been charged with smuggling under OLS. Also, two processing centers and three jails in Texas are exclusively dedicated to incarcerating people arrested under OLS.


The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is a national nonprofit that works with immigrants, community organizations, legal professionals, and policy makers to build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people. Through community education programs, legal training & technical assistance, and policy development & advocacy, the ILRC works to protect and defend the fundamental rights of immigrant families and communities.