Earlier this week, hundreds gather at the Texas state capitol to protest TX SB4, the virulently anti-civil rights, anti-immigrant, and anti-public safety legislation signed into law earlier this month.
While not set to go into effect until September 1, SB4 has already inspired racial profiling – just this week, Texas Rep. Matt Rinaldi cast freedom of speech aside as he attempted to intimidate and dissuade protesters by calling Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to arrest them. Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, writing for NBC, highlights the parallels between Rep Rinaldi’s decision to call ICE and the racist foundation of SB4:
There was no way for Rinaldi, or anyone else, to know who was undocumented or not. The crowd was overwhelmingly Latino and that was enough for the lawmaker to assume the need for a round up and mass deportation.
“Calling Immigration on Latinos Protesting SB4 is Racial Profiling” is excerpted below and available in full online here.
Siccing ICE on people who annoy you, now that’s a new low in politics. What Rinaldi did is especially troubling in light of the signing into law of SB4, which allows individuals to be questioned about their citizenship status while detained, including during traffic stops. The new law of the land in Texas, which takes effect Sept. 1, encourages racial profiling.
The rationale for SB4 was similar to Arizona’s S.B. 1070 anti-immigration bill – to ensure public safety and not target specific groups. Its provisions prohibit government entities and universities from preventing law and immigration officers from enforcing immigration laws, a strike at so-called sanctuary cities.
Well in Texas, that flimsy negligee of a justification didn’t stay on long.
Would Rinaldi have called immigration authorities if the protesters were white women or African-Americans? He called Immigration authorities because the crowd was overwhelmingly Latino.
Four out of 10 Texans is Latino.
SB4 essentially puts a cloud of suspicions on close to half of the state’s population. The end result of this law will not be increased public safety, but one of increased racial profiling, political polarization, and a lot of false alarm calls to ICE.