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ICYMI: SB4 Is Already Damaging Public Safety in Texas

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One month before discriminatory law takes effect, local law enforcement express frustration, confusion

Austin, TX  – Texas’ racially discriminatory law, SB4, is set to be implemented across the state on September 1, but in pieces from The Intercept and the Dallas Morning News, local law enforcement have already expressed confusion and frustration on how it will affect trust within their local communities.

According to Mario Carrillo, Director of America’s Voice Texas:

Local police from across the state are already stressing the negative effects from the racially discriminatory SB4. Immigrants in their communities are becoming increasingly fearful of interacting with law enforcement for fear of deportation, and this will only become worse if SB4 is fully implemented. Advocates from across the state will continue working with local elected officials and police departments to push for policies that don’t criminalize people of color and ensure that their towns and cities remain safe and welcoming to all Texans.

Texas Police Say “Show Me Your Papers Law” is Damaging Public Safety – Before Even Taking Effect by Renee Feltz is excerpted below and can be found in its entirety here.

On a sweltering July afternoon, Houston police officer Jesus Robles slowed his squad car as he passed a pushcart vendor hawking popsicles called paletas in a park named after the father of Mexican independence.

“This is the heart of Magnolia,” he explained, using an affectionate term for the longtime immigrant community served by the Houston Police Department’s Eastside Division. “These are humble people who don’t ask for much other than to be left alone to work and take care of their families.”

Robles himself is a Mexican immigrant whose mother swam across the Rio Grande with him in her arms. She was granted amnesty under Ronald Reagan, allowing Robles to eventually gain citizenship two decades later. Now he says undocumented residents who used to seek his help are alarmed by a Texas law that will let police check the immigration status of anyone they detain.

“These are the people who would become afraid to call us or be witnesses to crimes,” Robles said, gesturing toward the vendor, adding that even legal immigrants avoid contact with police in order to protect undocumented family members or friends.

Set to take effect September 1Senate Bill 4 bans local law enforcement agencies from adopting “patterns or practices” that limit cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Sheriffs, police chiefs, and jail administrators face Class A misdemeanor charges and fines up to $25,500 if they violate the law by instructing officers not to inquire about immigration status or comply with so-called detainer requests to transfer jailed immigrants to ICE custody.

Confusion, frustration mount as Texas police departments prepare to implement sanctuary cities banfrom James Barragan of the Dallas Morning News is excerpted below and can be found in its entirety here:

Edgar Garcia goes back and forth on his support for the state’s new sanctuary cities ban.

The police chief of the little town of El Cenizo, which was the first to sue the state to stop the law’s implementation, sees the good the law can bring. It can help make his border community of around 4,000 people safer by identifying criminal unauthorized immigrants and ousting them from the country.

But, he said, it can also separate innocent families, which he is loath to do.

Garcia refused to join his town’s lawsuit in May because of his mixed feelings. Less than a month away from the Sept. 1 implementation, he’s still fretting over how his four-person semi-volunteer department will carry out the law. It could have implications for how his community sees his officers, but also for the officers themselves — who could be punished if they run afoul of the law.

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