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Immigrant Advocates and Legal Experts Analyze SB 4 Hearing in San Antonio

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San Antonio – Today, immigrant advocates and legal experts analyzed yesterday’s court hearing regarding whether or not a federal judge should block Texas’ “show me your papers” SB4 law from enactment. Speakers reviewed the current status of the lawsuits filed to enjoin SB 4 and outlined the next steps in the fight against the state’s anti-immigrant law. A recording of today’s event is available here.

Andre Segura, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project and incoming Legal Director, ACLU of Texas, said:

SB4 relies on the preposterous justification that Texas’s law enforcement leaders don’t believe in upholding the law. But so many police chiefs and sheriffs and city officials oppose it, because they know better than most the devastating effect SB4 will have on the communities they serve.

Austin City Councilman Greg Casar said:

Yesterday, the State of Texas and the Department of Justice provided no evidence that SB4 would improve our safety, and we’re already seeing a preview of the damaging effects this law would have – over 80% of survivors of assault have decided not to report their attacker; over 50% jump in no-shows at a health clinic in an immigrant community; and 162% increase in school absences. In the month since Governor Abbott signed SB4, community members across Texas lifted their voices and demanded we, their local leaders, stand up to protect all Texans. Since then, our actions as city leaders and community members are proof of the growing divide between the will and values of the cities and Governor Abbott’s right wing ideology. Texas is sending a clear message to Governor Abbott that his politics of hate is no longer welcome here.

Nina Perales, Vice-President of Litigation, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), said:

In yesterday’s hearing, Texas tried to run away from the plain words in SB4. But the meaning of that law is clear: it will strip local governments of the ability to supervise police officers and reduce police ability to respond to urgent calls about crime. Texas cities, counties and the community were united yesterday In telling the court that SB4 is unconstitutional and will make us all less safe.

Jose P. Garza, Executive Director, Worker’s Defense Project, said:

Yesterday, thousands filled the courtroom to challenge SB4, because communities of working people in every corner of our state demanded it. And, outside the courtroom, buses filled with hundreds of working families arrived to resist SB4 and Governor Abbott’s declaration of war against Texas families. We stood together for a Texas that honors all families as the backbone of a vibrant community and economy. Today, tomorrow, and for the rest of the summer, we will continue to stand up and demand a Texas that stands up for us. 

Efrén C. Olivares, Racial and Economic Justice Director, Texas Civil Rights Project, said:

Yesterday, we brought the voices of thousands of Texans to the courtroom to stand against this discriminatory law. As the legal community makes its arguments inside the courtroom, it’s important that we work hand-in-hand with our grassroots partners and clients, the Texas Organizing Project Education Fund and MOVE San Antonio, to ensure that our fight is grounded in community. We will not stop until we end this law in the courts.

Michelle Tremillo, Executive Director, Texas Organizing Project Education Fund, said:

Yesterday was a historic day for Texas. Nearly 1,000 people traveled from near and far across Texas and in the rain and blazing sun, made their voices heard in opposition to this racist law. They, too, couldn’t stay on the sidelines. I saw people of all ages, colors and creeds united by a desire to take action and fight for their state. Among them was Maria Victoria de la Cruz, an undocumented mother of four and grandmother of 11. She is fearful that SB4 could lead to the separation of her family, but she’s not letting that fear stop her. She was there yesterday in front of the courthouse with more than 120 other TOP members wearing her teal t-shirt, sharing her story and vowing to keep fighting to defeat SB4. It is literally the fight of her life. This is what gives me hope for my state, a growing wave of activism and consciousness.

Mario Carrillo, State Director, America’s Voice: Texas, said:

Earlier this year, the Texas legislature passed SB4, an anti-immigrant, show me your papers law that will target people of color in the state, and create fear and uncertainty in our communities. The community has responded, rallied, and marched against SB4, even as Gov. Greg Abbott, one of Trump’s best foot soldiers, signed it on a Sunday night during a Facebook Live. Yesterday, a federal judge in San Antonio heard arguments from several different people on why SB4 is discriminatory and unconstitutional, while hundreds of community members rallied outside in support of communities of color and immigrant communities in Texas.

Read more about SB 4, Texas’ anti-immigrant law, here.