Washington, D.C. — Last night Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed the anti-immigrant S.B. 4, a so-called “show your papers” law. Center for American Progress Vice President for Immigration Policy Tom Jawetz has issued the following statement:
Gov. Abbott is taking a page out of Donald Trump’s mass-deportation playbook by signing into law a direct attack on the state’s immigrant communities and communities of color. S.B. 4 empowers police to check the papers of any person they stop or arrest—a provision that will inevitably lead to racial profiling, discrimination, and unlawful detentions. And by eviscerating the line between local law enforcement and federal immigration officials, the law will have a chilling effect on law enforcement interactions with immigrants and people of color as a whole, destroying community trust, and ultimately making communities less safe. Because nearly one-in-five children in Texas has an unauthorized family member, Gov. Abbott’s bill further threatens to tear apart these families and place these children in jeopardy.
What’s worse, the bill will force state and local police to face a Faustian bargain: Either honor detainers from the federal government—voluntary requests to hold someone for longer than they may otherwise be held—which a number of federal courts have ruled violate the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable search and seizure, or face a significant fine, jail time, and loss of public office. It’s no wonder groups like the Texas Major Cities Chiefs and the Texas Police Chiefs Association oppose the bill.
In signing S.B. 4 into law, Gov. Abbott is ignoring the lessons of history, from Proposition 187 in California through Arizona’s odious S.B. 1070, and the harm that these anti-immigrant laws do to the states that pass them. Texas stands to lose more than $60 billion in GDP each year under a mass-deportation scenario, and that is just the money lost through kicking out the workers that help power Texas’s economy, to say nothing of the losses that may come through economic boycotts of the state. It is time for people across Texas and across the U.S. to come together, rise up, and reject this hateful attack on immigrant families and communities of color.