Texas House Votes to Criminalize Immigrant Community

AUSTIN, TX — On Thursday, the Texas House approved Senate Bill 4 (SB 4), an extreme anti-sanctuary cities bill that would deputize state and local officers to act as immigration agents. After 16 hours of debate, SB 4 was amended to include language similar to the dangerous and unconstitutional Arizona “show your papers” bill, a hateful law that was eventually repealed.  If signed by the governor, SB 4 would allow police to question any person about their immigration status. The House also voted down two Democratic amendments which would exclude children and domestic violence shelters from being targets of police questioning regarding immigration status.

Nancy Cárdenas, State Policy Associate Director, Texas Latina Advocacy Network (TX LAN) of National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), issued the following statement:

“SB 4 is a promise to make life a terrifying hell for undocumented immigrants in Texas. The new language approved in the House opens the floodgates for all Latina/o families to be detained and questioned for even the mere suspicion of being undocumented through tools like racial profiling — a serious constitutional concern. Uncertainty and fear of family separation already force undocumented immigrants to forgo accessing essential reproductive healthcare and other life saving preventative care. I have received calls and stories of women who are afraid to attend their healthcare appointments. Legislation like SB 4 forces women to choose between much needed health services, and returning home to their families.

We thank our Rio Grande Valley legislators for being our champions, and fighting hard against SB 4. The House has chosen to criminalize the immigrant communities, but we will continue to be resilient and fight back in the face of legislation that endorses state sanctioned violence by making local entities deportation agents.”

For more information on NLIRH’s fight for health, dignity and justice, visit us at latinainstitute.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter @NLIRH.


The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health is the only national reproductive justice organization dedicated to building Latina power to advance health, dignity, and justice for 28 million Latinas, their families, and communities in the United States through leadership development, community mobilization, policy advocacy, and strategic communications.


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