by the National Political Committee, Texas DSA chapters, and the National Anti-Racism Working Group – Immigration Committee
On May 7, 2017, the Texas Senate passed SB4, a bill that allows local law enforcement to check the immigration status of people in most instances, such as routine traffic stops. This “show me your papers” law will result in racial profiling throughout Texas communities. These illegal arrests will increase tensions between law enforcement and the communities they seek to protect and serve. SB4 will allow law enforcement to detain Texas residents lacking legal status until Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrives to take them to privatized detention centers for processing.
All Texans will be endangered when fear of law enforcement and their continuous collaboration with ICE outweighs the need for help from those same government agencies when the victim of a crime.
The American Civil Liberties Union has recently issued a travel advisory for those planning to visit Texas after September 1, 2017 when the law comes into effect, showing the severe restrictions on civil liberties that this bill brings to not only Texas residents, but to those visiting as well.
This law forces local law enforcement to comply with SB4 by threatening those departments and officers who don’t with heavy fines and/or termination. Governor Abbott and the Texas legislature have continued to disregard pleas from local law enforcement and community advocates who maintain that this legislation undermines the safety of all Texas residents, regardless of status, and the fact that people of Latin American descent make up 40% of the population in the state, including citizens as well as residents, DACA holders, and undocumented individuals They have instead chosen to enact this racist bill into law.
SB4 relies on a oft repeated trope in U.S. politics in which reactionary leaders overplay the “dangers” that immigrants represent to our communities, and then assuage that fear among their base by passing legislation which virtually assures their reelection. It is political theatre ahead of the 2018 state elections – and future federal ones. The lives of those whom the Governor endangers by signing this bill into law are not, and should not be pawns.
The Democratic Socialists of America condemn this law for creating organized state terror. DSA is committed to anti-racist organizing aimed at building a diverse, multi-racial movement to demand just immigration reform. We support full and equal rights for all, and sanctuary means sanctuary for undocumented immigrants, victims of domestic violence, transgender people, and other vulnerable communities.
DSA is committed to building local power to stop racist policing, arrests, and deportations of our communities and Texas DSA stands with immigrant Texans to fight SB4, in the courts, the streets, and the legislature whatever way we can, however long it may take. Republican attacks on immigrants, refugees, black lives, indigenous communities, and LGBTQIA+ have only unified us and strengthened our resolve to protect Texas’ diversity.