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Houston activists protest new anti-immigrant law SB4

By Fabian Van Onzin |
May 22, 2017
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Protest against new anti-immigrant law SB4. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Houston, TX - Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 4, a racist anti-immigrant law, amidst massive opposition, on May 7. The law gives law enforcement the ability to ask any person who "looks undocumented" for their identification papers when detained. Specifically, the law is designed to attack sanctuary cities, and is therefore tied to Trump's attacks on immigrants. It is very similar to SB1070, which passed in Arizona in 2010. The law will legalize racial profiling and create an environment of terror in the Chicano/Mexicano communities.

Three cities in Texas and two counties have decided to sue the state over SB4, as has the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). The police chief of the Houston Police Department, Art Acevedo, spoke out against the law. He made public statements that he would not support a law that would turn Houston police officers into ICE agents. Unfortunately, Mayor Sylvester Turner specifically spoke out against the city taking any legal action at a state level against this new anti-immigrant legislation.

About 50 activists yesterday gathered May 21 in front of the Houston Police Department headquarters to demand that HPD not enforce the law. Even though Acevedo stated he would use his powers as police chief to make sure it isn't enforced, the protest made demands on the whole police department, which has a dirty history of killing Black and brown people. They chanted, "No SB4, no Trump no Pence, no fascist USA!" and "Hey, hey, ho, ho, SB4 has got to go!" Afterwards, they marched to City Hall and were met by a large group of protesters from Black Lives Matter, who were holding a rally.

David Smith, with Houston Socialist Movement said, "The enactment of Senate Bill 4 presents a significant danger to undocumented immigrants, to people of Mexican descent in general, and to other people of color. This new ‘Show Me Your Papers Law’ will lead to more unjustified deportations, more separation of families, more racial profiling, more violations of supposed constitutional rights, more unreported crimes, and more pain and misery for many people.”

Smith continued, "The Houston Police Department already has a long, ugly history of murdering and abusing people. Now HPD Chief Art Acevedo says he will make sure his officers enforce SB 4 even though he opposed its passage. To this, we can only say: Hell no. SB 4 is a racist, anti-worker law, and it should not be enforced. HPD should not serve as immigration agents. No more deportations. Stop breaking up families. End racial profiling! Stop police murders and brutality."

Patrick Donovan with Students for a Democratic Society said, "The word I want to emphasize is 'escalate.' Escalate struggle on campuses to pressure our administrations, escalate struggle in our workplaces and on the streets to obstruct this law at every turn - escalate, escalate, escalate."

The protest was organized by Brown Berets de TejAztlan, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Houston Socialist Movement, Latinos Inmigrantes Triunfadores, MORENA-Houston SW, and Party for Socialism and Liberation.

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