Houston, TX — Yesterday and today, immigrant youth from Houston, Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, the Rio Grande Valley, College Station, Beaumont, and across Texas converged on the State Capitol to launch their UndocuTexas campaign to protect the immigrant community from attacks on sanctuary policies and a longstanding tuition equity law.
Hundreds from all over Texas took to the Capitol to speak out against Senate Bill 4 (SB 4) a dangerous anti-immigrant bill being rammed through the legislature by Governor Abbott and Dan Patrick to make the Trump nightmare a reality for immigrant and Latino communities in Texas.
United We Dream affiliate groups delivered over 3,200 signed petitions of opposition, and over 1,500 testimonies of support for the immigrant community were registered with the Senate and heard until early Friday morning. Despite overwhelming public opposition to SB 4 the bill passed the committee 7-2 at 1:40 am CST, Friday morning. See pictures from the action here, here and here.
If signed into law, SB 4 would undermine local sanctuary city policies, such as those found in Travis County, enabling local police to act as deportation agents, encouraging “stop and frisk” racial profiling, and empower college campus police to act as agents of federal immigration law enforcement and in student deportations. In addition to SB 4, other bills are underway to undo Texas tuition equity which has, for over 15 years, allowed tens of thousands of Texas immigrant youth to attend community colleges and universities, and contribute back to their communities.
Karla Perez, DACA beneficiary, Statewide Coordinator for the UndocuTexas Campaign and resident of Houston, said: “My family and I have set down deep roots in Houston, Texas. I am a University of Houston graduate and current law student at the University of Houston Law Center. Our campaign, led by undocumented students like me, will fight back against any attacks to tuition equity for undocumented students and attacks on immigrant families and students. We went to the Capitol this week to show Governor Abbott and his anti-immigrant cronies that Texas is our home and we are here to stay. Anti-immigrant bills like SB 4 have no place in our state.“
Anayeli Marcos, DACA beneficiary, and resident of Austin said: “As an immigrant woman graduate pursuing a Master’s degree at the University of Texas, our tuition equity laws have brought my family pride and peace of mind over the last four years. But the reality is that this year, our resilience is being put to the test — Senator Perry is attacking our pursuit of higher education by demonizing us, and Governor Abbott is trying to get campus police to deport me and my classmates. As immigrant youth we’re going to show up, share our stories and fight so that we can protect students, our families, and our community!”
Nahiely “Pinky” Garcia, daughter of immigrants and resident of Edinburg, said: “As a student living on the Texas border, my university has always been a supportive space for our undocumented community; yet, with bills like SB 4, state lawmakers are set to turn my school police department’s priorities into deporting students instead of protecting them, putting many of my friends in jeopardy in ways I’d never have imagined. As a member of my university Police Department’s Victims Unit, I could face the moral dilemma of enforcing federal immigration law on my friends and peers, or face the criminal charges that Charles Perry, Greg Abbott, and Dan Patrick would impose on me. SB 4 is bad for me, my community, and Texas.”