The anti-immigrant law recently passed in Texas is so controversial, it has prompted a Texas travel advisory from the ACLU.
In May, the American Civil Liberties Union issued its “travel alert” following the signing of the anti-sanctuary cities bill in Texas.
It informed anyone planning to travel to Texas in the near future to look out for “the possible violation of their constitutional rights” if stopped by law enforcement officers.
The Texas travel advisory was prompted by the signing of Senate Bill 4, an anti-immigration measure that threatens to criminalize law enforcement officials who decline to comply with federal immigration requests.
Officials who fail to honor federal detainer requests to hold suspected illegal immigrants face being punished with a fine of $4,000 or up to a year in prison. Sheriffs, police departments, cities, and even college campuses can face civil penalties of up to $25,500 a day. Officials can be removed from office under the law.
The ACLU was highly critical of the legislation and it faces legal challenges from a host of cities in Texas including Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio.
ACLU officials said SB4 gives a green light to police officers in Texas to investigate the immigration status of a suspect during a routine traffic stop.
It claims this will lead to racial profiling and illegal arrests of citizens and non-citizens alike if they look or sound foreign.
The Texas travel advisory applies to all travelers to Texas, including American travelers from other states and U.S. citizens, stated the ACLU.
The alert applies to all encounters with state, federal and county law enforcement including local police and sheriffs.
The ACLU said the law was objectionable in a state that has strong links with Mexico.
Lorella Praeli, ACLU director of immigration policy and campaigns, said:
“The ACLU’s goal is to protect all Texans and all people traveling through Texas — regardless of their immigration status — from illegal harassment by law enforcement … Texas is a state with deep Mexican roots and home to immigrants from all walks of life.”
In recent months, places like Austin have seen immigration raids as the Trump administration sought to round up and deport undocumented immigrants with criminal records. There are, nevertheless, obstacles which we detail here.
If you have been impacted by new legislation in Texas or are facing an immigration challenge, please call our Texas immigration lawyers at (512) 474-4445.