BNHR Calls on Local Governments, Communities to Resist SB4, Protect Public Safety
Monday, May 8th, 2017
Yesterday, Sunday afternoon, as most Texa ns were spending time with their families, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, signed SB4 into law. SB4 is the most anti-Latino, anti-immigrant legislation in the history of this state. In this bill, Abbott and his Republican colleagues in the legislature have chosen racism, criminalization, and persecution of immigrants, over welcoming, opportunity, and dignity.
This unprecedented ill-conceived law formalizes a strategy of persecuting Latinos and Hispanics in Texas, and is in clear alignment with the Trump’s Administration efforts to deport millions of immigrant workers by criminalizing them.
SB4 will mandate, encourage, and allow local police departments and officers to act as immigration agents, and legally a implement “show me your papers” enforcement policy at the local and state levels.
The consequences of SB4 in Texas will be without precedent. For our Latino, Hispanic and immigrant families we are expecting abuse, racial profiling and fear. Our children are at risk of growing up in an environment of uncertainty about their future stemming from the very real threat of family separation.
The families and border residents that are part of the Border Network for Human Rights will not remain quiet while this aggression happens. We will resist any attempt to separate families, we will denounce every abuse, we will fight back against all mistreatment, and we will make our law enforcement accountable and transparent to the communities it serves.
We also know that we cannot wait for this bill to become law in September to begin resisting the harm it will cause. There are a number of steps that local government, and communities can take to begin defending El Paso from the effects of SB 4.
We call on the El Paso County Commissioners Court to the legally challenge SB4 on the basis that it poses a clear violation to a 2006 federal court settlement prohibiting the enforcement of immigration laws by the El Paso County Sheriff. That agreement reflects the will of El Paso County residents that our deputies not act as immigration agents.
To the new City Council and Mayor of the City of El Paso, and all of the cities and towns in our region, we call on you to oppose and resist this attempt to force our local police departments to implement local immigration enforcement. What is at risk is the safety and security of our communities, and El Paso’s place as the Safest City in the U.S. will be lost if our communities can no longer trust our local policy department. You must lead the opposition on behalf of your constituents and our values of inclusion and welcoming, and you should know that your courage can draw on the support of the public.
To the El Paso Police Department, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, the UTEP PD, and all of the other local police who will be impacted by this bill, we call on you to ensure that community safety, including the ability of all persons to feel secure in their dignity and rights, is your agency’s goal, no matter how SB 4 and the state government may try to pull your departments in other directions.
To communities, we call to remind you that you always have dignity, rights, and a voice, no matter what laws the state government may pass. In times like these, it is all the more critical that every person in our community know their rights, and feel strong in asserting these rights.
Finally, today, BNHR announces and convenes the first ‘Justice Monday’ where every Monday from Noon to 2 pm, today through September 1st, we will hold a community action in front of the state office building in Downtown El Paso to demonstrate our collective opposition to SB 4 and the racist, anti-immigrant agenda being pursued by the State of Texas. We invite all to join us