FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, October 26, 2023
Press Contact: Jessica Ortiz, [email protected]
San Antonio, Texas — A series of what RAICES believes to be anti-immigrant and unconstitutional bills passed the Texas House of Representatives earlier today after Governor Greg Abbott called the House into a special legislative session. As advocates committed to protecting the rights and dignity of all people, including those living in and traveling through Texas, we are sounding the alarm on House Bill 4, House Bill 6, and Senate Bill 4.
These so-called “border security” bills would allocate $1.5B taxpayer dollars on border wall expansion, deputize all state law enforcement to arrest and “remove” people suspected of entering the state without inspection, and criminally charge immigrants and people seeking asylum with a Class B misdemeanor up to a Second Degree felony.
Not only do we believe these bills are unconstitutional, an overreach of state power, and a violation of federal law, but they would make Texas an even more hostile state for immigrants, regardless of status, and further militarize an already dangerous border for families seeking their legal and human right to seek safety. This bill would empower state law enforcement to detain, arrest, and remove immigrants in our communities.
“Our service providers have witnessed the traumatic outcomes of cruel policies, like Operation Lone Star, on the families and people we serve. We can not overstate this enough – these bills, if passed, will directly harm our clients and our Texas community,” says Javier Hidalgo, spokesperson for RAICES. Javier continues, “We also know that tragedy always follows cruelty. Should these bills become law, we will almost certainly witness additional horrors like further family separation at our border and the criminalization and removal of those seeking their legal and human right to seek asylum.”
RAICES, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit founded in 1986, is the largest immigrant legal services provider in Texas and pairs legal and social services case management for immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees with national policy advocacy and impact litigation in pursuit of systemic change.