As Texas prepares to enact Senate Bill 4 on September 1st, major pushback is coming from Democrat and Republican lawmakers both in Texas and in other states. In a meeting on August 23, several of these bipartisan lawmakers got together to denounce the bill. SB4 will essentially end Sanctuary Cities within Texas, and allow for officers to ask for the immigration status of anyone in question, including those stopped for minor traffic violations. This information can also be passed on to federal immigration officials, who then have the power to detain and deport. Officers that do not comply with SB4 are subject to repercussions.
As has been pointed out by the bipartisan attack on the bill, the consequences of enacting this bill are vast. Senator Martin Quezada (D-Arizona) has referenced the disastrous Senate Bill 1070 passed in 2010 in Arizona as a reason not to continue with Senate Bill 4 of Texas. Another worrisome aspect of this bill is the potential for crime reporting to decrease. Delia Garcia, the National Business Advisory Council Chair of the Board of Hispanic Caucus Chairs, and moderator of the meeting said, “If she’s an immigrant woman, will she feel safe to make that call or will she feel that she can’t make that call because of dangerous legislation like SB4?”. Many legislators also fear the possibility that many states will follow suit and pass their own versions of the Senate Bill.
As the days count down till the Senate Bill 4 is enacted in Texas, many lawsuits have already been instigated by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton against opponents of the bill, and have yet to be decided.
Our Verdict: The SB4 Legislation is an attempt to regain control over cities and officers that do not agree with federal immigration policies. Frankly, the bill is unsafe for immigrants and dangerous for the precedent it sets into motion. As opposition to the bill increases, it will be interesting to see how events will play out.