Immigrant Legal Resource Center Calls on Lawmakers to Defeat Abbott-backed Bill
(San Antonio, Texas)—State lawmakers in Texas are on the verge of passing new legislation empowering peace officers to arrest Brown and Black people on the mere assumption that they have entered the state from Mexico without authorization. Upon their arrest, magistrate judges will be given authority to deport them. State lawmakers are poised to vote this week on the measure, the latest expansion of Operation Lone Star, Gov. Greg Abbott’s hateful and racist agenda against immigrant communities.
“All Texans, regardless of their status, should be very concerned about this bill and should demand their lawmakers vote against it,” said Priscilla Olivarez, a Policy Attorney and Strategist for the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. “This bill would give peace officers wide discretion to stop someone without any real cause if they believe they have entered Texas from Mexico. This bill means anyone suspected of crossing from Mexico into Texas can be stopped and questioned. This will no doubt disproportionally affect Brown and Black people.”
The bill is so vague on the description of a peace officer, meaning anyone with perceived law enforcement authority might then have the right to stop someone and arrest them.
“What is stopping law enforcement–from the chief of the state police down to a state park ranger or a fire marshal–from stopping you and saying, ‘hey, I don’t think you have the right to be here?’ This bill is dangerous, racist and must be defeated, “ Olivarez said.The ILRC also calls on lawmakers to reject the other bills Abbott has sanctioned to beef up his anti-immigration regime, including legislation that would provide an additional $1.5 billion for border barriers, border security officers and targets at the Colony Ridge development, home to mostly Brown and Black people. These bills will continue to prop up Operation Lone Star, Abbott’s unconstitutional and deadly Texas law enforcement scheme that wastes vital state resources to target migrants for arrest, jail, and deportation. Created in March 2021 by Abbott and backed by nearly $5 billion of state funds, this operation is designed to criminalize and endanger border communities and migrants alike, many of whom are seeking safety in the United States.
“Gov. Abbott’s vision of Texas is one that heaps hatred on Brown and Black people,” Olivarez said. “I know the majority of Texans have much better visions for our beloved state, one that champions good schools, reliable infrastructure, and improved social services.”
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.