This Is Not the Texas I Know

A version of this piece originally ran at the ACLU of Texas

Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 4 into law yesterday. He’d declared it an “emergency item” before the legislative session began, and he could barely contain his giddiness when the bill passed its final legislative hurdle last week. “I’m getting my signing pen warmed up,” he tweeted.

When the governor of the Lone Star State positively gloats over such a wrongheaded, racist, undemocratic, un-Texan piece of legislation, a law that treats our immigrant neighbors as strangers to be shunned and feared, a law that breaks up families and endangers communities, I have to wonder what’s become of us.

SB4 will make all our immigrants, regardless of their residency status, feel like something other than — or less than — Texans. And that’s just wrong.

Because this is not the Texas in which I grew up.

The Texas I know is free. But SB4 will turn ours into a “show me your papers” state, where any encounter with local law enforcement can turn into a citizenship interrogation. It will encourage local police without a single minute of immigration enforcement training on their resumes to profile skin tones and accents and languages. Detainers, now mandatory under state law, will clog our jails. The border checkpoint will be everywhere.

In the Texas I know, we look out for one another. But SB4 will drive witnesses and victims of crime into the shadows. Fearing deportation, survivors of domestic violence and rape will let their abusers walk free. Knowing this, sheriffs from Travis, Dallas, Harris, Bexar, and El Paso Counties, along with police chiefs from Dallas, Houston, Austin, Arlington, Fort Worth, and San Antonio begged the legislature not to pass this awful law. But the experience and informed opinions of Texas’s law enforcement leaders carried no weight with Gov. Abbott and his warmed-up pen.

The Texas I know believes in democracy. But SB4 threatens to remove from office duly elected officials should they choose to prioritize the safety and integrity of their communities over the governor’s warped and xenophobic agenda.

The Texas I know values its immigrants. The Texas I grew up in and still love is a place where rugged individualism is admired, where we have a statewide culture of entrepreneurship that is only strengthed by immigrants, as research shows.

The Texas I know loves diversity. Every nation on earth is represented here. Our people pray in churches, temples, mosques, and synagogues. One-hundred-and-sixty-four different languages are spoken in homes across Texas. But SB4 will make all our immigrants, regardless of their residency status, feel like something other than — or less than — Texans. And that’s just wrong.

So to all the immigrants who fear the impact of this law on your lives, know that we stand with you. SB4 won’t take effect until September 1, but we won’t wait that long to fight it. Fight it we will, in the courts, at the ballot box, in the streets if we have to, and for as long as it takes, until Texas once again becomes the Texas I know and love.

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Anonymous

ACLU change the immigration law and stand for Americans, instead of people who entered the US illeagally. First immigrate legally to the US. If you are an illegal immigrant and you get arrested, you should be deported, since you have now broken two laws. If US citizens have to obey federal law, why should illegal immigrants get a pass.

Jay S.

Maybe you should ask why is 45 hell bent on destroying families and communities. You don't punish the children or grandchildren or other innocents because the parents or grandparents had only one option into the USA at the time they came here. And don't hand me the BS story about they could have applied to come here legally because we all know people have waited 30 years or more to get here LEGALLY. Let's not forget to mention the ones fleeing from drug lords and corrupt officials that needed to get out when they did before they and their loved ones were killed. If the USA can take Nazi Prisoners and Turn them into United States Citizens , They can help the people that are here now be grandfathered into citizenship. Now do you really want to play that tune you are playing ?

Anonymous

Your obviously white, you don't know a persons situation when they flee from their country you do not know if they are coming here to get a better job and a better life for their family instead of being ignorant imagine if you were Mexican or illegal and your only choice was to come to this country to feed your children what if you were fleeing from violence and from destruction from cartels, or if they were trying to kill you in your country wouldn't you come over here too?!? I bet you would run away from your country not even thinking about taking time to file legally because by the time.... BANG!!!!!! Your life would be over the cartels would kill you before then it's bad in Mexico and all those other countries! Why rip apart families?? Why encourage it?? Would you want to see your children crying for mommy and daddy reaching out to hold their hands one last time screaming mommy or daddy!! Please don't leave me!!!!!! Please!!!!!!

Cheech

Cheech sang on Cheech and Chong. "Beaners, Beaners, Beaners, eat beans." Wetbacks just swim.

Jeffery

Assassinate AG Sessions. 1 dollar reward for the body, that's all it's worth.

J Hardy

You obviously didn't pay attention in school, when America was "found" by Christopher Columbus, and how the British Colonies were settled: Whites from England came first, but plenty of French and Spanish INVADED this land that was already occupied by Native Americans. So, unless you are 100% descendant from Native Americans, TECHNICALLY YOUR WHOLE FAMILY ARE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS.

Put that in your pipe and smoke on that for a while.

Liberals are insane

don't you just love the stupidity and ignorance of liberals? So we have laws but the ACLU does not want anybody to follow them?this is all part of liberals plans of tearing America down by letting third world rift raft in. Oh yeah and Anthony Romero is a fag- fag.

Anonymous

I'm sure of one thing - every single one of the people crossing the border is smarter than you, which is why they scare you so much. There is no way you can actually compete with them for any job at any level. I feel sorry for you.

Anonymous Corre...

1. You have grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors galore. I've marked just a few of them.
2. Perhaps you shouldn't have used "stupidity and ignorance" under the circumstances.
3. I'm not touching your last disgusting sentence, but I will tell you it has three errors.

don't [Don't] you just love the stupidity and ignorance of liberals? So we have laws but the ACLU does not want anybody to follow them? [space] this [This] is all part of liberals [liberal's] plans of tearing America down by letting third world rift raft [riff raff] in. Oh yeah and Anthony Romero is a fag- fag.

Anonymous

You are a beaner

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