May 8, 2017

AUSTIN — Today, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 4, the “show me your papers” measure that bans “sanctuary cities” and “sanctuary campuses,” encourages racial profiling by untrained immigration agents, clogs up Texas jails with mandatory detainers and removes democratically elected representatives from office should they fail to comply. Sheriffs and police chiefs throughout Texas have criticized the law for fomenting distrust in law enforcement and endangering public safety.

“This is not the Texas I know,” said Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas. “This racist and wrongheaded piece of legislation ignores our values, imperils our communities and sullies our reputation as a free and welcoming state. Our immigrant communities need to know that we stand with you; we will fight this assault in the courts, at the ballot box, and in the streets if we have to. This is an assault on humanity. It will not stand.”

Senate Bill 4 has been especially criticized for discouraging witnesses and victims of rape and domestic abuse from reporting crime to the police. Already in Houston, the number of Hispanics reporting rape has fallen 42.8 percent from last year.

The ACLU of Texas, Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative, Tahirih Justice Center, Vinson & Elkins LLP and Houston Volunteer Lawyers currently host an immigrants’ rights hotline from 2-6 p.m., Mon.-Fri., at 1-888-507-2970.

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