The Texas Government signed an immigration bill into law known as S.B.4 (Senate Bill 4) which goes into effect on September 1, 2017. The local law enforcement agencies are allowed to question the immigration status of people they legally detain or arrest. The agencies can be held liable for civil action, be fined or removed from the office if they do not honor detainers or enact policies prohibiting officers from asking individuals about their immigration status. The law thus gives wide latitude to the police officers who can now choose to ask for documents from felony arrests to routine traffic stops. We expect that the police officers will be following this directive sooner than waiting for September 1st of 2017. We want you to be aware and please carry your permanent resident cards with you at all times or proof of your passport, birth certificate if you are US citizens.
Texas has yet again made news with being first in its anti-immigration stance. If you remember, Texas v. United States , where Texas and 25 more states sued and enjoined President Obama’s expanded DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and DAPA (Deferred Action for Parental Accountability). We know that there is something wrong, when ACLU issues a warning to people about an upcoming violation of their civil liberties. A travel advisory from ACLU warns travelers to Texas to anticipate possible violation of their constitutional rights when stopped by law enforcement officials. The travel alert applies to all travelers to Texas including US travelers from other states and US citizens.
The impact of such a law is apparent. We may observe high racial profiling and illegal arrests and scrutiny in days to come. The focus may shift away from keeping the community safe and fall through the trust of the community and local police. We caution the community to carry their proof of immigration status at all times!