With the controversial anti-immigrant SB4 law banning sanctuary cities set to take effect across Texas on Sept. 1, hundreds of families spent Mother’s Day marching to Gov. Gregg Abbott’s mansion in Austin.
Carrying banners and signs proclaiming, “No Papers, No Fear,” and “Immigration is Beautiful,” marchers vowed to fight SB4 until it is repealed. In addition to immigrant families, rights groups and most of Texas’ police chiefs also oppose SB4, which Abbott signed into law while broadcasting live on Facebook a week ago.
Under SB4, sanctuary cities would be banned in Texas, and police would be allowed to inquire about immigration status when people are merely detained and not necessarily arrested. Equally draconian, sheriffs, police chiefs, and local leaders would be subject to misdemeanor criminalization and substantial civil fines for refusing to honor immigration agent requests to hold noncitizen inmates subject to deportation, according to The Texas Tribune.
The legislation will literally rip families apart, opponents say.
Sunday’s peaceful march was only the beginning of 100 days of activism and legal maneuvering to try to stop SB4, organizers said. On Monday morning, 100 members of the activist group Jolt will gather at the governor’s mansion to kick off a series of actions including registering voters, educating the community, and organizing civil disobedience.
“SB4 is not just an attack on undocumented immigrants, it’s an attack on the entire Latino community,” Jolt Executive Director Cristina Tzintzun said in a statement.
The League of United Latin American Citizens already has filed a lawsuit against SB4, and others are expected to follow, including a group of Texas lawmakers, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the American Civil Liberties Union, among others.
“As president of a group of Hispanic lawmakers from the state of Texas, we already are studying several lawsuits that we could file to stop this law before it takes effect on Sept. 1,” state lawmaker Rafael Achín told Jorge Ramos. “I think we were successful in Arizona, and we’re going to have the same success in Texas.”
SB4 opponents also gathered outside of City Hall in Dallas, and other locations: