By Faby Jacome
Emboldened by a hate regime in the White House, many state and senate assemblies across the country are pushing forward anti-immigrant bills. The most dangerous among these is Senate Bill 4 from Texas. Once it becomes law on September 1, SB 4 not only punishes “sanctuary” cities but also allows police, city council members, county commissioners, sheriffs, district attorneys and college campus police to inquire about immigration status simply based on their discretion. The bill also allows for officials that don't comply with the law to be reported and face removal from their positions.
Pro-immigrant protesters took to the Capitol on Monday to denounce SB 4, only to have Republican representative Matt Rinaldi claim he called la migra on them. He also threatened to shoot his legislative colleague during a scuffle on the House floor. But SB 4 opens up a can of worms that goes beyond chaos at the Capitol and the bill's intended persecution of undocumented folks. It sends a chill and opens up a deep chasm of distrust between the undocumented community and law enforcement.
Just imagine; If a domestic abuse victim fears law enforcement will target them, they will be less likely to report a crime committed against them. There is nothing progressive or positive that a law like SB 4 will contribute to any community; it is a big step towards racial profiling and persecution of a group of people based on how they look and where they live. In Texas talk, this bill is as dumb as a wagon wheel.
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In California, we are trying to take steps in a different direction. We are fighting for Senate Bill 54, also known as California Values Act, which will limit the collaboration between Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and local law enforcement. It won't allow for state funding sources to be used for immigration enforcement. It will also call for the creation of a model policy on behalf of the Attorney General for interaction between state facilities (such as libraries, mental health facilities and schools) and law enforcement, as well as create protections for parents, children, students and community members.
It's imperative that "Sanctuary City" Santa Ana supports the statewide efforts at the local level and get on the right side history. It is time for city council members like Juan Villegas, a 27-year veteran of the Orange County Sheriff's Department and the child of Mexican immigrants (per his city council bio) to get behind his community and his roots. If Villegas can’t find inspiration there, then he should at least consider making his friends at the Santa Ana Police Department’s job a little easier.
After all, the police can’t pretend to be fighting crime if no one is reporting it.