Protecting Immigrant Families: A Call for an Economic Boycott of Texas

The time has come for us Texans to promote an economic boycott of our state until the misnamed “anti-sanctuary” law, Senate Bill 4, is repealed and state officials end their war on immigrants. We should begin a campaign to ask conventions, conferences, and major sports events to take their business elsewhere.

SB 4, Texas’ “show me your papers” law, which goes into effect September 1, is the worst discrimination law that any state has passed in recent times. It opens the door wide to racial profiling and will drive immigrant victims of crime, spousal abuse, and human trafficking underground, doubly victimizing them. It will break up families, deporting parents of U.S.-born kids — no matter how long people have lived here and no matter how hard they have worked to better Texas as decent law-abiding people.

SB 4 prohibits local authorities from adopting policies that prevent police officers from asking people about their immigration status. The law strips local authorities of their right to decide when it is appropriate to report undocumented immigrants to federal authorities.

Individual officers, on their own, can question a detained person’s immigration status, even at a routine minor traffic offense (like an expired inspection sticker). As Houston Sen. Sylvia Garcia put it, a broken taillight can lead to a broken family.

All the officer need do is “suspect” a person is undocumented; and, given the breadth of Texas’ immigrant community, the officer’s “suspicion” becomes a pretext for profiling and detaining virtually anyone.

Sheriffs, police chiefs, and other local authorities face a Class A misdemeanor, with a fine and possible jail time, if they don’t honor a request by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hold a detainee, who might be subject to deportation, no matter how minor the offense. They face civil penalties of $1,000 for the first infraction and up to $25,500 for subsequent violations.

The law also applies to college campus police. Students attending a party could be at risk because minor offenses like possession of alcohol might trigger a path to deportation.

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