In response to the news that Texas Senate Bill 4 is now a state law, the American Civil Liberties Union issued a “travel advisory” for Texas on Tuesday to inform “anyone planning to travel to Texas in the near future to anticipate the possible violation of their constitutional rights when stopped by law enforcement.”
According to the ACLU, “the law gives a green light to police officers in the state to investigate a person’s immigration status during a routine traffic stop, leading to widespread racial profiling, baseless scrutiny, and illegal arrests of citizens and non-citizens alike presumed to be ‘foreign’ based on how they look or sound.”
“The ACLU’s goal is to protect all Texans and all people traveling through Texas —regardless of their immigration status— from illegal harassment by law enforcement,” said Lorella Praeli, ACLU director of immigration policy and campaigns. “Texas is a state with deep Mexican roots and home to immigrants from all walks of life. Many of us fit the racial profile that the police in Texas will use to enforce Trump’s draconian deportation force.”
“We plan to fight this racist and wrongheaded law in the courts and in the streets. Until we defeat it, everyone traveling in or to Texas needs to be aware of what’s in store for them,” said Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas. “The Lone Star State will become a ‘show me your papers’ state, where every interaction with law enforcement can become a citizenship interrogation and potentially an illegal arrest.”
The ACLU also said that “between 2008 and 2012, ICE requested local law enforcement to hold 834 U.S. citizens, some of whom subsequently spent days in jail as a result. Under SB4, the state of Texas is placing the rights of its residents, including U.S. citizens, in extreme jeopardy.”
As more and more challenges to SB4 are bound to become reality, some Texas law enforcement officials are also speaking about against the law. For example, Texas Public Radio reported that both San Antonio’s Police Chief and the Bexar County Sheriff have denounced SB4.
“You can be asked for jaywalking, you can be asked if you’re deemed to be intoxicated in public. Any ordinance that is currently on the books that one may violate and you’re stopped for, you can be asked for your immigration status,” San Antonio Police Chief William McManus told TPR.