Texas Senate Bill 4 is often referred to as the “Sanctuary Cities” bill. But the bill as worded could go much deeper than the city level to target undocumented immigrants. That’s the fear of the few dozen students, professors and faith leaders who gathered to protest the measure, in a park across from the University of Houston – Downtown. The choice of venue was significant.
“We have a huge number of students in Houston who are either undocumented or love someone who is undocumented,” said Tony Diaz, an activist and a professor at Lone Star College. “It’s hard enough to get families onto our campuses, let alone enrolled. This will take decades of work and throw it out the window.”
The bill requires local police to cooperate in the enforcement of federal immigration laws or face criminal penalties. That would include campus security at public universities and community colleges.
“Basically, Texas SB 4 turns college campus police officers into Border Patrol agents,” said Diaz.
Gov. Greg Abbott has named SB 4 one of his emergency items for the legislative session. The bill has already passed the Texas Senate. It’s now awaiting action in the Republican-controlled lower house.