It’s great being a Texan until it’s not! Texas will become the first state to have a “Sanctuary City” law when Governor Abbott signs SB 4 into law next week. This will take effect on September first after he puts his stamp of approval on it. A large majority of Texans have fought this bill with phone calls, e-mails, faxes, protesting at town halls and at the capital in Austin. More importantly, the Texas Police Chiefs Association and the Texas Major Cities Chiefs which includes Houston, Austin, Arlington, Dallas, Fort Worth and San Antonio have come out against SB 4.
In an Op-Ed penned last week by Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo and James McLaughlin, executive director of the Texas Police Chiefs Association, they stated “Police chiefs across the state work extremely hard to develop law enforcement agencies that build and maintain trust, communication and stronger relationships with minority communities through community-based policing and outreach programs. So we know well that no good can come of Senate Bill 4, which the state House of Representatives, joining the state Senate, passed last week.”
“SB 4 requires local law enforcement to take a more active role in immigration enforcement; this will tear down what we’ve worked so hard to build up. Officers will start inquiring about the immigration status of every person they come in contact with, or worse, only inquire about the immigration status of individuals based on their appearance. This will lead to distrust of police, less cooperation from members of the community and will foster the belief that they cannot seek assistance from police for fear of being subjected to an immigration-status investigation. This is a lose-lose situation for everyone”. Link
SB 4 has come to be known as a “show me your papers” law. This bill demands that police officers hold anyone that is an undocumented immigrant for violations as minor as jaywalking or having a tail light on their car that is burned out. It would force police and sheriffs to hold the person in jail up to 48 hours giving I.C.E. time to collect and deport them.
And this law gets even worse. If an officer of the law fails to hold an undocumented immigrant until I.C.E. can take them into custody then the police officer cannot only be fined but can face up to one year in jail. Now officers will be under the microscope as being complicit in allowing an undocumented immigrant to walk away with a warning for failing to signal at a turn. Local police and sheriffs officers are forced to become extemporaneous I.C.E. officers at the cost of taxes paid for by citizens like me which are meant to be used for local police and sheriff’s departments for city and county protection.
I have lived in Texas my whole life. SB 4 is a law that will force Latino/Mexican American Texans whose families have been in Texas for generations to live in fear of being racially profiled. Any time they are out in public walking on a sidewalk, driving their kids to school or driving anywhere at all they will be a target!
When Abbott was criticized for making sanctuary city legislation one of his priority issues he rebutted with the following statement “As everyone knows Texas is a very welcoming state. Texas is made up of immigrants. And Texas is very pro immigration. The issue is illegal immigration and people need to distinguish the distinct difference between the two.”
“Texas has been long connected to the Hispanic community, even before Texas was a state, and we remain that way, and by and large the Hispanic community agrees that the rule of law is to be applied and enforced and that’s all we are seeking to do. Texas will be a very safe state for everybody, one that follows the rule of law and will lead he way in a way that’s fair to everybody”.Link
Once again, as Governor Abbott and so many Republican politicians in Texas tend to do, they say they are speaking for the majority of Texans. This is simply not true! They do not speak for the majority of Latinos, People of Color, Non-Christian Religions, LGBTQ and low income people who are only alive because of lifesaving medical treatment they can only receive through Medicaid. Also, women who count on the services provided through Planned Parenthood for their mammograms, birth control, wellness checks and so many other important services.
This “Show Me Your Papers” law is nothing but plain and simple discrimination. A law that puts officers of the law own job security at risk if they do not carry out this discrimination for the most minor of offenses. Anyone that speaks with an accent other than “Texas Racist” is at risk of being arrested and possibly deported.
So in conclusion if you are planning on visiting Texas after September 1, 2017 plan on doing three things. #1. bring your birth certificate or any other form of documentation that proves you are in the United States legally. #2. Make sure to get a spray tan of “neutral caucasian” if you are a shade darker than the Sherwin-Williams color swatch SW 7008 Alabaster. And lastly #3. Buy and practice the latest version of Rosetta Stone’s “Texas Twang” edition. The instant download of Level 1 on the Rosetta Stone website is now on sale for $99 and will most likely do the trick. Good luck if y’all come to visit us in Texas!