Voices For Inclusion
Oppose Texas SB 4
Drawing a parallel with the Chinese Exclusion Act and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, Texas State Representative Gene Wu delivered an emotional plea on the House floor against SB 4 and its racial profiling impact on immigrants and refugees of color.
Rep. Wu was born in Guangzhou, China in 1978 and came to the U.S. when he was five years old. Prior to being elected to the Texas legislature in 2012, Wu served as a prosecutor in the Office of District Attorney, Harris County.
Wu’s colleague Rep. Ana Hernandez also gave an eloquent statement against SB 4. In this clip, she speaks about growing up undocumented in Texas. Hernandez, who was elected to represent a Houston district in 2005, came to Texas with her parents as a child. The parents were undocumented for many years. She later became a naturalized citizen.
Signed into law by TX Governor Greg Abbott on May 7, 2017, SB 4 forces local jurisdictions to honor a federal immigration detainer – a request by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hold an immigrant in a local jail beyond the person’s scheduled release until ICE can pick up the individual.
Multiple federal courts have questioned the legality of ICE detainers, and in some cases, have found they violate the U.S. Constitution, resulting in local jurisdictions facing significant legal liability for honoring a detainer.
SB 4 also requires local police agencies, utilizing local resources, to enforce federal immigration laws, and prohibits local jurisdictions from endorsing any policy that limits their enforcement of such laws.
SB 4 penalizes local jurisdictions, law enforcement officers, and elected officials with harsh civil and criminal penalties for not performing federal immigration enforcement activities.
Key police chiefs and sheriffs opposed SB 4 because it interferes with local law enforcement efforts in building trusting relationships with immigrant communities by conflating the role of local law enforcement and federal immigration. These Texas law enforcement officials have reported there has been a drop in crime reporting by immigrant and refugee community members because they fear any contact with local police will lead to their detention and deportation.
Meanwhile the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) has filed a legal challenge against the legality of SB 4.