Sunday, July 9, 2017

SB4: Show Me Your Papers

SB4: Show Me Your Papers Bill

On May 7th, Texas’ Governor signed SB 4 into law. SB 4 effectively creates federal immigration agents out of city, county and college police. Police departments that refuse to cooperate will be criminally prosecuted.

1.     SB4 is currently scheduled to go into effect on September 1, 2017.
2.     SB4 does NOT apply to k-12 school campus police or security at clinics.
3.     There is misinformation already about the law in the community.
4.     Although Hidalgo County police agencies signed off on an editorial letter claiming that “nothing will change” because of the law, in fact, many of these same officers expressed grave concerns over the effects of the bill on their relationship with mixed-immigration status communities, and thus, their ability to protect and defend the community.

The RGV community is under a triple assault even before this becomes law: an exponential increase in border patrol, ICE, and state trooper presence, a national campaign that has focused fears upon the southern border, and a renewed, recent and extraordinary increase in violence in Tamaulipas. Our children are being raised in a community in which a family member being treated as “suspicious” is becoming normalized.

Reports of children being frightened by the political environment is widespread.

The RGV as a region does not enjoy the same legal resources for our community as in other parts of the nation.

To community organizations it appears that many of our institutions (schools, churches, businesses) and even our elected officials are not informed about SB4 and are unclear about a resident’s (documented or not) basic civil and legal rights.

1. The bill makes Texas less safe by forcing local police to act as federal immigration agents. SB4 will therefore harm public safety, as we rely on all members of our community — regardless of race, religion or national origin — to report crimes. We cannot drive crime victims and witnesses into the shadows without undermining local public safety.  Our communities need to trust the police; our police need the community to trust them.

2. SB 4 includes a “Show us your papers” provision that will lead to racial profiling
This new law promotes racial profiling based on appearance, background, language and accent that will affect U.S. citizens and immigrants alike — in a state where 38.8% of the population is of Hispanic origin, according to the U.S. Census.

3. SB4 takes authority away from local law enforcement.
 Texas communities each have unique public safety and law enforcement needs that should not be undermined by state, unfunded mandates as authored in Senate Bill 4.

4. SB 4 forces cities, counties, campus police to carry out the responsibilities of the federal government. SB4 forces cities, counties and even university campus police to act as immigration agents o a daily basis. Importantly, our federal laws mandates that the federal government is responsible for enforcing immigration laws.

On May 7th, Texas’ Governor, Greg Abbott, signed SB 4 into law. SB 4 is the most discriminatory  piece of anti-immigrant legislation in the United States. SB 4 is currently scheduled to go into effect in September 2017. The bill makes Texas less safe by encouraging racial profiling and forcing local police to act as federal immigration agents.
SB 4 is a grave threat to immigrant families and multi-cultural communities across Texas.

South Texas Civil Rights’ Project and MALDEF have filed  lawsuits against that state on the following grounds:
1.     SB4 discriminates against Latinos, Mexicans, Mexican-Americans, Hispanics, and people of color in general, and immigrants of all backgrounds.
2.     SB4 does not give adequate notice about how it is to be implemented.
3.     SB4 is likely to result in unlawful arrests when no probable cause exists.
4.     Civil immigration laws are the competence of federal immigration authorities, not local law enforcement agencies.
5.     SB4 seeks to punish elected officials and law enforcement leaders for making certain public statements regarding their policies.
6.     SB 4 violates the Texas Constitution because it tells local law enforcement agencies, including university police, how to run their departments and forces them to enforce federal civil immigration laws. 

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