May 15, 2017
Taking aim at the new Texas law that bans sanctuary for undocumented immigrants, Latino activists on Monday are announcing the start of 100 days of organizing against SB4 that will include everything from voter drives to civil disobedience.
At a morning press conference outside the Austin mansion of Governor Greg Abbott, organizers with the Latino advocacy group Jolt announced the new campaign just over one week after Abbott, a Republican, signed the controversial bill into law.
"SB4 is not just an attack on undocumented immigrants, it's an attack on the entire Latino community," said Jolt executive director Cristina Tzintzun. "In the 100 days leading up to the implementation of SB4 Latinos are coming together to register voters, educate the community about the impact of the law, and organizing public demonstrations and civil disobedience actions to put an end to SB4."
The law is effectively a ban on sanctuary cities, as it makes law enforcement officials subject to Class A misdemeanors--punishable by up to a year in jail--if they don't cooperate with federal immigration agencies, as Common Dreamsreported. It also provides substantial civil penalties for local governments and public colleges found to be in violation.
The campaign launch followed a Mother's Day protest against SB4 with large crowds turning out in Austin as well as Dallas to draw attention to the law's impact on families, particularly undocumented mothers.
"This is only going to unite us and we're going to be resilient in these times of terrorization and discrimination against our community," Berenice Ramirez, an undocumented immigrant who is a student at the University of Texas, told local news channel KXAN.
In Austin, the demonstration began at City Hall before an estimated 500 protesters marched to the governor's mansion. Austin's District 4 City Councilman Greg Casar told the crowd: "The governor clearly wants community members to hide in their homes and to not speak out and to be afraid and I think today's demonstration shows that mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters are defiant and fighting back."
Videos and images posted to social media showed the emboldened crowd.
\u201c#SB4 has got to go! Letting @GregAbbott_TX know we will fight his racist law until it's struck down #SB4isHate #HeretoStay #YallMeansAll\u201d— Radical Librarian (@Radical Librarian) 1494788943
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