SB4 Detractors Use The Money Factor To Ask For Its Repeal

HPM SB4

SB4, the state law that would allow law enforcement to ask the public about immigration status, will go into effect next month and Houston activists, as well as political and business leaders, are using money as a reason to ask for its repeal.

Based on the impact a law similar to SB4, commonly known as the sanctuary cities law, had in Arizona a few years ago groups like Texas Together and Mi Familia Vota predict the legislation will hurt Texas’ economy.

According to immigration activists, the population of non-citizen Hispanics in Arizona decreased by 10 to 15 percent because of the law, which was known as SB1070.

Based on that, Texas Together, Pantsuit Republic Texas and Mi Familia Vota contend that if 10 percent of undocumented immigrants leave our state, it could lose more than $200 million in state and local taxes.

After a press conference held at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston, Laura Murillo, president and CEO of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, told Houston Public Media: “this is real money. We saw the negative economic consequences in Arizona. These are real issues that have an impact, whether you are pro-immigrant or not.”

The groups also predict billions of dollars in lost wage earnings and job losses that were dependent on immigrant consumers.

Houston City Council Member for District I Robert Gallegos foresees other problems because, as he noted during the press conference, “SB4 will expose Houstonians to violations of due process. It’ll erode trust between the Police and the public.”

SB4 is scheduled to go into effect on September First.

This story originally appeared 8/11/2017 on Houston Public Media.

Activistas piden que revoquen programa 287(g), temen que latinos sean el objetivo de arrestos en Carrollton (VIDEO)

Carrollton protest

Activistas pidieron al Ayuntamiento de Carrollton que revoque el programa 287(g), que crea una colaboración con el Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas de los Estados Unidos (ICE, por sus siglas en inglés) y el Departamento de Policía de la Ciudad, al norte de Texas.

Más de en una docena de activistas en contra de la medida se presentaron en el Ayuntamiento para hablar en contra del programa. Por algunos momentos hubo tensión al ver llegar un grupo de personas vestidas con ropa de camuflaje y con banderas de Estados Unidos y una bandera verde asociada a grupos supremacistas y conocida como ‘KEK’.

De acuerdo al Departamento de Policía, en el 2016 solamente el uno por ciento de las personas arrestadas fueron deportadas. Gabriela Rodríguez, Policía de Carrollton, enfatizó que ellos no han sido instruidos a preguntar por el estatus migratorio ya que su responsabilidad es la seguridad del público.

This story originally appeared 7/12/2017 on Mundo Hispánico.

Democrat Files Bill to Repeal SB 4 During the Special Session

Rotunda protest

After Senate Bill 4, the “anti-sanctuary cities” bill, passed, Democrats and immigrant-rights activists pledged a “summer of resistance” to fight it — and so far that resistance has been relentless.

The latest move: Representative Ramon Romero (D-Fort Worth) filed a bill yesterday to repeal SB4 during the special session.

“My hope is that representatives, as they’ve gone home and done their research, maybe they understand we rushed to pass SB4 without understanding its full extent, and the economic impact it’s going to have on our state,” Romero told the Texas Observer.

If we’re being realistic here, the bill is largely symbolic. It’s obviously not on Governor Greg Abbott’s list of priorities for the session’s agenda, and the odds that it will even make it to the floor in the Republican-controlled Lege, let alone pass with a two-thirds vote, are slim to none. But Romero recognized this, hoping instead that it can at least get a hearing in committee — and hoping that, for at least the third time, Republican lawmakers will have to listen to hundreds of Texans testify emotionally against the bill and see the damage SB4 has already done to immigrant communities.

Starting September 1, the new law will allow police to question people about their immigration status while detaining them for any reason, often called a “show-me-your-papers” provision. It will require all jurisdictions to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s requests to hold suspected undocumented immigrants in jail long enough for ICE to pick them up. And it will hold threats of criminal penalties and removal from office over the heads of any police chief or sheriff who fails to comply with ICE or creates policies prohibiting cops from enforcing immigration law.

So far the so-called summer of resistance has included endless protests and rallies; unbridled dissent from police leaders across the state, including Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo; and, most significant, an all-hands-on-deck lawsuit. It’s not just activist groups fighting the state’s GOP leadership with this one; Texas’s largest cities — Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin — plus two border jurisdictions and El Paso County have joined the Texas Organizing Project and the ACLU of Texas in the fight to bring down the law in court. The groups, represented by the Texas Civil Rights Project, argue that the law will encourage racial profiling, in violation of equal protection under the Constitution.

Hearings in the case have already begun — but as with most fights against some of Texas’s most controversial legislation, such as anti-abortion restrictions and stringent voter ID laws, expect this battle to rage on far longer than through this summer.

This story originally appeared 7/11/2017 in Houston Press.