Latinos demand that Texas governor show their community more respect
Under the recently approved SB4 law, known as the "show me your papers" law, police can request the immigration status of anyone stopped, for example, because of a traffic violation.
More than 100 Latinos gathered Monday in front of the Texas governor's mansion to demand more respect for the Hispanic community, which sees itself under attack by the controversial legislation recently passed in this southern state.
As part of the SB4 law, aimed at prohibiting the status of "sanctuary city," Republican Gov. Greg Abbott also ratified last week an amendment that will permit police officers to question the immigration status of anyone detained in Texas.
According to this addition, very similar to the one passed in Arizona in 2010 and popularly known as the "show me your papers" law, police can request the immigration status of anyone stopped, for example, because of a traffic violation.
"This not only attacks undocumented persons, but also threatens the entire Latino community - which represents close to 40 percent of the total population of Texas - and whose members will be subject to questioning by police because of their looks and their accents," Cristina Tzintzun, executive director of the Hispanic organization Jolt, told EFE in a statement.
This group, with headquarters in Austin and which defends the rights of Hispanics in the Lone Star State, organized a press conference in front of the state governor's mansion to announce its action plan before the new law takes effect next Sept. 1, according to the rules of the Texas legislature.
Jolt will focus on aiding Latinos residing in Texas to register to vote while educating the community about the implications of SB4 and organizing protests and acts of "civil disobedience" to create the most impenetrable obstacles possible to the implementation of law SB4.
State lawmaker Rafael Anchia, who also attended the event, asked Gov. Abbott to "open his eyes" to the number of people who will be affected by this law, which will also permit university police to demand the documents of students who don't look American.
"We're all Texans and Americans, never mind what your papers say," shouted the Democrat, who said he was proud of the way the Latino community unites "every time" it is attacked by political leaders in this southern state.
The amendment against "sanctuary cities," which could include prison sentences for sheriffs in charge of offices that refuse to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), has been one of Abbott's priorities in the current state legislative session.
Despite the strong pressure against law SB4 from numerous economic, cultural and civil rights organizations, the governor insists on ending the sanctuary status of territories that do not cooperate with the federal government in detaining and deporting the undocumented.