Texas Senate Bill 4 was signed by Governor Greg Abbott, but does not go into effect until September 1. Until then, some San Antonians are wondering how they can protect themselves.
RAICES organizers held a town hall meeting on Wednesday night, where the community came together to talk about their rights.
Barbie Hurtado is with RAICES. She’s an immigrant and was undocumented until a few years ago.
“People are scared,” she said. “Some of my friends are undocumented. I have family that are undocumented. They’re all scared.”
Hurtado worries that S.B. 4 is a direct attack on those closest to her.
The bill allows police officers to inquire about a person’s immigration status during an arrest or lawful detention, such as traffic stops. It also makes law enforcement subject to misdemeanor charges if they don’t honor requests from federal immigration agents.
Hurtado said that the law is “anti-immigrant and anti-democracy."
An attorney with RAICES, Roberto Gradilla, stressed that the bill isn’t a law yet. He explained the basics of it, but the audience still had questions such as, “What do i do if an immigration officer asks about my status before the law goes into effect?”
Gradilla answered that officers don’t have the right to do that until September 1.
Hurtado said that RAICES and it’s members will fight back by organizing, educating, and creating sanctuary networks at places like churches and businesses.
The organization has set up events to educate the community through the end of May.