August 31, 2017
AUSTIN, TX – American Gateways is elated that U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia has temporarily enjoined key parts of S.B. 4, Governor Greg Abbott’s signature anti-immigrant law, less than two days before it would have gone into effect. As we have long maintained, S.B. 4 poses grave constitutional concerns for all members of our immigrant community by encouraging racial profiling and unlawful arrests. The law also represents bad public policy as it erodes trust between the immigrant community and law enforcement, and undermines social and economic integration essential to our region’s long-term health and prosperity. Judge Garcia’s decision to enjoin provisions of the law that mandate local compliance with all ICE detainer requests as well as the provision that vaguely prohibits “a pattern or practice that materially limits the enforcement of immigration laws” goes a long way toward addressing many of these concerns.
We are disappointed to see that a core component of the S.B. 4 which allows police, at their own discretion, to inquire about immigration status remains in effect. We believe that this provision can be employed as an intimidation tactic and will have a chilling effect on communication between the immigrant community and local law enforcement. We take some heart, however, from Judge Garcia’s explicit admonishment that information about an individual’s immigration status, or lack thereof, cannot independently form the basis for an arrest.
We look forward to a trial on the merits of the case, where we are confident that Judge Garcia will ultimately rule that the law is unconstitutional, harmful to our families, communities and economy. In the meantime, American Gateways will continue to educate our community on the implications of the law as it stands, while fighting to protect and promote the human rights of immigrants throughout the region.