A Statement on SB 4 by Elsa Caballero, President of SEIU Texas
The passage of SB 4 marks yet another dark milestone in Texas history.
In recent months, tens of thousands of Texans have taken to the streets, spoken out, rallied, and marched to voice their discontent with the reckless policies of our state’s elected leaders. Governor Abbott’s decision to sign SB 4 only strengthens our resolve to push harder for a more fair and just Texas.
SEIU Texas members, civil rights advocates, workers, community leaders, and law enforcement agencies in every major city in Texas have come out against SB 4 because we know that it will create rifts between residents and local police, and infringe upon the rights of immigrants and People of Color. Communities in places such as Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, El Paso, and Austin have demonstrated that diversity is our strength, tolerance is our hope, and openness is our best bet for a brighter future.
Despite the gloomy picture painted by our governor, local economies in Texas are booming wherever immigrants live in greatest numbers. The dog-whistle rhetoric and hate speech by politicians hoping to score some political points cannot conceal the fact that welcoming cities are the driving force of our state’s economy.
SB 4 is designed to weaken our communities. It empowers law enforcement officers to act as immigration officials and opens the door to widespread racial profiling. The law also threatens to tear families apart and pays no regard to the rights and wellbeing of American citizens whose parents happen to be undocumented.
Texans can no longer sit back and hope that politicians in the state legislature will bring real solutions to our most pressing concerns. Rather than pass legislation that would create better paying jobs, raise wages, and ensure workplace protections, Governor Abbott and the GOP have prioritized political gamesmanship that has done nothing to improve our livelihoods.
Now, we must rise to the occasion and vote them out of office. This state is in dire need of new leadership with an eye toward the future — not the past. SEIU Texas unapologetically supports immigration reform that provides a pathway to legal status for our immigrant friends and neighbors, and we will never stop fighting until this racist and unconstitutional piece of legislation is overturned and thrown into the dustbin of history.