Last week, SB 4, the “show me your papers” bill was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott. It’s surreal. It’s disgusting.
The result of this misguided law: local law enforcement and college campus police will now serve as de facto immigration officers, driving many members of our community deeper into the shadows. This law, which was billed as a pro-public safety measure, will make our neighborhoods less safe. Don’t just take my word for it, here is what Arlington Chief of Police Will Johnson wrote about the measure in a recent editorial:
“This will lead to distrust of police, less cooperation from members of the community and the belief that they cannot seek assistance from police for fear of being subjected to an immigration status investigation.
“Distrust and fear of contacting or assisting police has already become evident among immigrants here legally as well.”
This was the concern shared by many in law enforcement before the addition of a Tea Party Republican amendment, which turned an already-bad bill into something much, much worse. As a result, Texas has now become a “show me your papers” state, the consequences of which will be felt in our neighborhoods, in our schools and colleges and reflected in our state’s economy.
Since day one, this bill has had one goal — to discriminate against a specific group of people for purely political gains.
We shouldn’t be surprised by this, as our state’s Republican leaders have a long history of passing measures found to have discriminatory intent. In just the past two months, three federal court rulings have highlighted how the Texas Legislature has systematically discriminated against minorities:
- March 10th ruling: Texas Congressional districts drawn in 2011 were drawn with discriminatory intent
- April 10th ruling: Photo voter ID law was passed with a discriminatory purpose
- April 20th ruling: 2011 Texas House district map — “map drawers were motivated in part by an intent to dilute minority voting strength”
So what’s the Republican response to these rulings? It’s to pass measures like SB 4, further harming minorities and dividing our communities.
Photo credit: Texas AFL-CIO