McALLEN, RGV – La Unión del Pueblo Entero says that after Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 4 into law, the Texas Department of Public Safety might as well be renamed Poli-Migra.
LUPE and other community groups in the RGV Equal Voice Network held a news conference in opposition to SB 4 outside a DPS center in McAllen on Monday.
A number of LUPE members held signs saying “no” to Poli-Migra, an abbreviation of Policía and La Migra.
“This is what DPS is going to become known as if we do not defeat SB 4 in the courts – Poli-Migra, a combination of Policia and La Migra,” said LUPE Executive Director Juanita Valdez-Cox.
“They might as well change their name to Poli-Migra. That is a good name for DPS. Abbott, with his racist law, has given them the authority to be police and Border Patrol.”
On Sunday, Gov. Abbott signed SB 4 into law via live feed on Facebook. He said it would put an end to “sanctuary cities.”
A provision of SB 4 allows local law enforcement officials to ask people their legal status after they have been detained or arrested. Instances of detainment include routine traffic stops. Its critics have called it the “Show Me Your Papers” bill.
Vehicles passing on Pecan Boulevard and Bicentennial Boulevard honked their horns in support of LUPE and other community groups as they noisily protested Abbott and SB 4. One banner said “Santuario Si, PoliMigra No.”
Asked why the groups gathered outside a DPS facility, Valdez-Cox said:
“One of the reasons we are here is because DPS has been asking for more and more money to hire more and more DPS troopers to come into the Valley. DPS is known for working very, very, closely with immigration. We are here today to say we will fight this in court,” Valdez-Cox said.
“We do not want them to get any ideas about working even closer with immigration officials. They might think they have now been given the authority to act as immigration agents. That is why we are here, to show the community is totally against this bill. They (DPS troopers) are not trained. How can they be immigration officers? This law is not needed. It will be fought in the streets and in the courts.”
At the news conference, LUPE issued an op-ed from Valdez-Cox. It was titled: We Will Not Accept Racism
Here is the op-ed in full:
Last night, Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 4 to require all law enforcement officers to become immigration officers. We cannot accept that law and we fully intend to continue working against the hate and xenophobia that lie at the heart of Senate Bill 4.
We cannot understand and will not accept the basic premises that form the foundation of this hateful law. Thousands of everyday Texans expressed their opposition to Texas’ version of the Arizona law adopted in 2010. Ignoring the wishes of their own constituents, legislators approved this law that will drive a wedge between local communities and the police authorities who are pledged to protect them. How can residents trust local police if officers are required to report every undocumented person they encounter? How can a victim of domestic abuse report his or her spouse’s violence if they will be facing deportation themselves? How can a local resident report a burglary of his home if investigators will ask for his documents before investigating the crime?
Senate Bill 4 is a travesty and we will not accept it. We will fight this in the streets, and LUPE and our 8,000 members are ready to fight this law in the courts, where we are confident that judges will recognize the many ways in which this law infringes on the protections afforded all people by our Constitution.
Early this morning, I spoke with Sheriff Eddie Guerra who expressed his strong opposition to SB 4, saying, “I am concerned that the law would erode the relationship that has been built between the community and my deputies I fear that people will stop reporting crimes for fear of being deported.” Sheriff Guerra worked hard to convince the Legislature not to pass SB 4.
LUPE Executive Director