A Statement by Elsa Caballero, President of SEIU Texas, Calling on the Houston City Council to File a Lawsuit Against SB 4
The passage of SB 4 means that communities across Texas are under an unprecedented attack by our state government. SEIU Texas supports Mayor Sylvester Turner’s call for a City Council vote which would allow Houston to take legal action against SB 4. Houston residents cannot wait any longer.
Houston residents are counting on the City Council to stand up for them and their families. It is time for Houston to join other cities, counties, and other stakeholders who are stepping up and challenging the constitutionality of this racist law that gives a green light to racial profiling, provides a cover for unscrupulous law enforcement practices, and creates an atmosphere of distrust between communities and local authorities.
All across this state, local governments, such as the cities of El Paso and San Antonio, have signed onto lawsuits to do just that because they know that it is never a good idea to codify bigotry into law. Allowing SB 4 to go unchecked will only encourage the state legislature to churn out more such laws in future legislative cycles.
Unfortunately, we are at a stage in our state politics where big cities are losing control of their own destinies. Right-wing extremists are using every tool at their disposal to silence us. We have no choice but to defend our rights in court. SB 4 is shaping up to be a political fault line that distinguishes between true local leaders that will fight back and move our communities forward–and those who will not.
The issue at hand is whether Houston’s City Council will live up to its own promises. By accepting its designation as a “Welcoming City,” Houston committed itself to serving as a leader among municipalities in developing strategies that ensure inclusion, safety, and empowerment for immigrant families in its jurisdiction. Well, Texas is now Ground Zero for testing the limits of Constitutional protections for immigrants, and everyone is wondering if the fourth largest city in the United States is going to turn a blind eye to the fight against SB 4. The City of Houston should do what’s right and join the resistance against anti-immigrant bigotry in our state by taking legal action immediately.