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LULAC Opposes SB 4 at 88th National Convention

July 6, 2017

San Antonio, Texas – Today, at the 88th LULAC National Convention, leaders gathered to stand against the most controversial anti-immigrant legislation in recent years. Known as the “show me your papers” bill, SB 4 requires citizens and non-citizens alike to check their citizenship status. Taking this even further, law enforcement officials, who fail to comply with SB 4 will be fined $25,000 and face criminal charges.

“The statute is unconstitutional, and the most anti-immigrant legislation passed to date,” said LULAC National President Roger C. Rocha, Jr. “This bill will only result in the breakdown of trust between law enforcement and the community and discriminate against and victimize a vulnerable population. LULAC will continue its fight along with the ACLU, MALDEF and the cities of El Paso, Houston, San Antonio and El Cenizo."

LULAC filed the first complaint against SB 4 on behalf of El Cenizo, a small town surrounded on three sides by Mexico. El Cenizo has had a “safe haven” ordinance since 1999.

“We are the leading case in opposition to SB 4,” said LULAC General Counsel Luis Vera. “We filed it 22 hours after Governor Abbott signed the bill. The Trump administration declared war on people from Mexico and we need people of good conscience from all backgrounds to stand with us. LULAC cannot do this alone, we need the ACLU, MALDEF and other organizations to help us fight against this oppressive bill whose only purpose is to discriminate against the minority community. We have to believe that we will prevail because there is no other option for minorities in Texas.”

In addition to it being unconstitutional and a violation of federal law, SB 4 is an unfunded mandate. Once it takes effect, local law enforcement will be forced to redirect limited resources away from the community in order for innocent people to be deported.

San Antonio’s Chief of Police William McManus has been vocal about the negative impacts of SB 4. “I could talk all day about what’s wrong with it,” he said at the LULAC National Convention. “For every second that an officer spends dealing with an immigration matter, that's a second that responding to your emergency calls is lost.” He also condemned SB 4 as being a racist bill. “How else do you determine to ask someone for their papers, if not their accent or their skin color? That’s profiling in its purest form.”

El Cenizo Mayor Raul Reyes, himself, has been a victim of racial profiling. “I am an American citizen. Yet, because of the color of my skin I have been asked to show my papers. So we’re very thankful to LULAC, because any attempt that suppresses and violates human rights and civil rights is worth fighting for. We know we are on the right side of history. This is bigger than LULAC. Bigger than El Cenizo. Bigger than Texas."

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The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.LULAC.org.

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