(Austin, Texas)—The Texas State Legislature passed a series of cruel and hateful bills during the 2023 regular and special sessions that will harm immigrants, educators and students, the LGBTQ community, ban books, eliminate diversity, equity and inclusion policies, and strip away many freedoms including reproductive rights. The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), along with its state partners, will continue to work until all these cruel policies are defeated and we urge all Texans to join us.
“Rather than focus on the legitimate needs of Texans, like making our state’s electrical grid more reliable and affordable, and supporting our schools and teachers, lawmakers decided to make Texas as inhospitable as possible and destroy so much of what we love about Texas, our diversity and welcoming nature,” said ILRC Policy Attorney & Strategist Priscilla Olivarez. “Many of the bills passed this session contain harmful language that will create a Texas that further criminalizes not only migrants but people of color throughout our state.”
“Collectively these bills will force Texans to continue to fund an illegal anti-immigrant and anti-people of color system that would prevent migrants from seeking safety and promote racial profiling and anti-immigrant rhetoric that harms everyone,” Olivarez said. “Lawmakers also aimed their hatred toward the LGBTQ communities and took away reproductive freedoms.”
“This is not the Texas we know the majority of Texans want,” said ILRC Senior Texas Strategist Carolina Canizales. “We know Texans want to live in a state that embraces compassion for everyone no matter the color of their skin, their citizenship status, their gender or sexual orientation. Gov. Abbott will no doubt sign all these hateful bills into law. But there is so much we can accomplish together to return our great state to a place that welcomes everyone.”
The anti-immigration bills passed will give more fuel to Operation Lone Star (OLS), a $5.8 billion enforcement scheme enacted by Gov. Abbott in 2021 to unlawfully target migrants for arrest, jail and deportation. The illegal and discriminatory OLS scheme is designed to criminalize and rapidly deport migrants, many of whom are seeking safety in the United States. But OLS doesn’t just harm migrants, it harms all of us. OLS violates the U.S. Constitution, promotes racial profiling, fuels the mass incarceration of people of color, and encourages white supremacy rhetoric that is dangerous to all Texans.
“We ask our fellow Texans this: do we want to live in a state where our leaders continue to embrace racist and hateful policies? Or do we want to be unified and stand up to make sure the heart and soul of Texas lives up to our state motto of “friendship.” That’s the Texas we want to live in, and we know if we are united to call out OLS and all hateful proposals, we can honor our commitment to friendship, to honoring the dignity of each human being and to each other—this is our vision of what a border state can and should be,” Canizales said.
The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is a national nonprofit that works with immigrants, community organizations, legal professionals, and policy makers to build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people. Through community education programs, legal training & technical assistance, and policy development & advocacy, the ILRC works to protect and defend the fundamental rights of immigrant families and communities. Follow us at www.ilrc.org, and on Twitter and Instagram @the_ILRC