Home / Media / ePiñata / May 31, 2017

What's Up With Texas?

Republicans in Texas have launched a full out assault against the LGBTQ community and the sanctuary movement in recent weeks. In particular, Gov. Greg Abbott has taken aim at undocumented immigrants by outlawing sanctuary cities in the Lone Star State. Gov. Abbott signed SB4, a law that punishes sanctuary cities with crippling financial penalties and provides law enforcement with sweeping powers to hunt down undocumented immigrants, under the guise of “protecting Texans.” SB4 allows law enforcement officers (including campus police), to question the immigration status of anyone they detain – anyone who “looks” like an immigrant in Texas can expect to be asked to prove they are U.S. citizens. This is racial/ethnic profiling at its worst.

“Authority for enforcing federal immigration law resides solely with the federal government. Law enforcement officials should use their limited time and resources to administer the laws of their localities rather than immigration laws that they are not trained or responsible for carrying out,” said José Calderón, Co-Chair of NHLA’s Immigration Committee and President of the Hispanic Federation. “Ultimately, measures such as the Texas “Show me your Papers” law will inevitably target communities of color through racial/ethnic profiling. Not only is this unconstitutional, if implemented it will ultimately make our communities less safe by diminishing their trust in local law enforcement.”

The law is scheduled to go into effect on Sept 1. However, local and national groups with a presence in Texas, like LULAC and MALDEF, are engaged in vigorous grassroots organizing and litigation to protect the civil rights of all Texans.

As if discriminating against immigrant communities weren’t enough, Republicans in Texas have also launched a full out assault against LGBTQ youth and families in recent weeks. Legislators have sent two pieces of legislation to Gov. Greg Abbott that put a bulls-eye on transgender young people and gay families. SB 2078, targets transgender young people in schools and, HB 3859 allows foster care agencies to discriminate against children in foster care and potentially disqualify LGBTQ families from the state’s foster and adoption system based on religious or moral beliefs.

Hispanic Federation has joined with the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda to oppose both potential laws. “The proposed Texas “license to discriminate” bills are among the most dangerous and extreme of the so-called “religious liberty” bills debated by state legislatures in recent years,” said Laura M. Esquivel, NHLA LGBTQ Task Force member and the Federation's Director of National Advocacy. “The ability of a paramedic to legally refuse treatment to a seriously injured transgender person, or a therapist refusing to treat a suicidal teen being bullied in school does not protect ‘religious freedom.’ We call on the Texas state legislature to reject any proposed bills that would legalize discrimination against LGBTQ students, parents, workers, and families in Texas.”

Hispanic Federation will continue to work in solidarity with its allies in Texas and elsewhere to battle against these unconstitutional and egregious assaults on civil liberties.