We like to think of Texas as a big state with a bigger heart. We value neighborliness and being welcoming. We believe that all people should be treated fairly and equally, regardless of where they were born or the color of their skin.
Unfortunately, those at the helm of state government have set our state on a different path, choosing the weapons of hate and fear of immigrants to move us in the direction of exclusion.
Early Thursday morning, the Texas House voted along party lines to approve Senate Bill 4, a bill that would force police into the business of deportations. The bill has already passed the Senate and is on the verge of becoming state law.
By giving local police the authority to enforce immigration laws, SB 4 encourages discrimination against people with brown skin and further erodes trust between communities and police. Even agencies who do not want to do immigration enforcement will feel obligated to do so, risking fines and criminal charges if they do not.
Those most impacted are those who are already most vulnerable: low-income workers, children of immigrant parents, survivors of domestic violence and abuse. But those who are most vulnerable are also on the front lines of the fight against this bill, and though SB 4 is well on its way to becoming law, together we can challenge it and eventually strike it down.
Together, we can challenge SB 4 in the courts and the streets. Our legal partners are already looking at what legal strategies can be taken, while grassroots organizations are challenging local officials to defy the unconstitutional law. We can shore up opposition to SB 4 by turning out in force to May Day rallies around the state and participating in the national Day Without an Immigrant.
As a nation, we should be expanding opportunities for all of us to access due process and seek the help we need of government officials, including law enforcement. Protecting that access for the most vulnerable among us ensures that it is there when the rest of us need it. That’s why, no matter our immigration status or skin color, we must stand up against SB 4.
We will challenge SB 4 in the courts and in the streets, starting with May 1st, A Day Without Immigrants. Join us this coming Monday as we march together in solidarity against SB 4.
César Chávez said, “We only lose when we no longer want to fight.” This may be the beginning of a long fight, but we are in it for the long-haul. And by the end of it, we will have struck down SB 4 and lifted up a Texas that respects the dignity of every individual.