FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 9, 2017
Natalia Jaramillo, (786) 317-3524
Washington, D.C. - In a cowardly move on Sunday evening, while many families were having dinner or putting their kids to bed, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 4 into law, one of the worst anti-immigrant laws in the country since Arizona’s “show me your papers” law in 2010. The law punishes communities that have limited their participation in immigration enforcement by forcing local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration authorities as they operationalize Trump’s mass deportation policies. The new law further allows local police to question anyone about their immigration status even without an arrest.
“Instead of thinking about how to celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday, thousands of immigrant families like mine will be holding each other tight and fearing it might be the last time we celebrate this day together,” says Yanira, an undocumented mother and member of the Labor Justice Committee, a community organization in El Paso. “If SB4 goes into effect it will prevent us from living our lives because of the constant fear of being deported. We have to stop it.”
From We Belong Together’s experience documenting the stories of immigrant women after Arizona passed SB 1070 in 2010, it is clear that this kind of law puts survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and other forms of gender-based violence in even more danger. Survivors will end up with criminal charges, detained, or deported when they cannot show proof of their immigration status to local law enforcement. SB4 will further institutionalize racism and racial profiling of anyone “perceived” to be undocumented.
The bill is not expected to go into effect until September 1st, but is already receiving national backlash from faith leaders, community organizations, and even celebrities who are calling for boycotts. Similarly, Arizona’s anti-immigrant law SB1070 faced a national boycott that hurt the local economy, and ultimately had political costs for former Governor Jan Brewer and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was ousted from office during the 2016 election.
“By the stroke of a pen, Abbott has plummeted Texas into a constitutional crisis. Immigrants and any person of color who the police perceive could be undocumented will have to produce their papers. This is a license to profile and target Latinx, Brown and Black people - plain and simple,” says Sameera Hafiz, Advocacy Director of We Belong Together. “Abbott has put Texas on the wrong side of history. Signing SB4 into law tears families apart, creates fear and anxiety for children who already experience over-policing in their schools and communities, and keeps survivors of gender-based violence silent and in abusive situations. How will this keep families and communities safe? How will this protect the future of Texas if thousands of kids could be separated from their parents and left in foster care?”
We Belong Together is a campaign of the National Domestic Workers Alliance to mobilize women in support of immigration policies that keep families together and empower women.
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