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Texas GOP Advances Anti-Migrants Bill

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The Texas State Capitol is seen on September 5, 2023, in Austin, Texas. | Source: Brandon Bell / Getty

In today’s shockingly un-shocking news, lawmakers in one of the leading Republican states in the war against critical race theory recently pushed through a bill that would have a 100% chance of affecting one single non-white racial group disproportionately and overwhelmingly.

According to NBC News, last Thursday, House Republicans in Texas advanced HB4, dubbed by its critics the “Show Me Your Papers” law, which would allow local and state law enforcement officers to detain people suspected of having entered the country illegally. Critics of the bill, including Texas Democrats, are blasting it as not only empowering police officers to racially profile Latino citizens—because how could it not?—but also being similar in nature to the unconstitutional former “stop and frisk” law that disproportionately targeted Black and brown citizens.

From NBC News:

Jennefer Canales-Pelaez, Texas policy attorney and strategist for the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, said the state deportation bill the House approved is worse than Arizona’s SB 1070 law, signed in 2010, that allowed officers, while enforcing other laws, to investigate the citizenship or immigration status of suspects and people they’ve stopped.

Passage of that law led to court challenges, boycotts, protests and demonstrations and invigorated voter mobilization among Latinos who favored Democrats.

The Texas bill goes further than SB 1070 because it would allow any peace officer to not only question, but arrest and remove them, Canales-Pelaez said. The authority is not only extended to law enforcement, but the broad definition means a peace officer could be “someone who sits on the dental examiners board,” she said.

“The way that the law is written is just so vague, so essentially it is just open season on people of color throughout the state of Texas,” Canales-Pelaez said.

Essentially, what Texas Republicans appear to be trying to do is an anti-immigration version of “stop-and-frisk,” a police practice legalized in NYC under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg that overwhelmingly targeted Black people, the overwhelming majority of whom had committed no crime. But, again, that’s just a bunch of CRT hogwash that just happens to be backed by ironclad statistics, amirite?

The core issue is white legislators who haven’t experienced racial profiling are passing laws that allow people to be detained on suspicion without being clear on what constitutes suspicion—which essentially clears the way for “suspicion” to become racism because Black and brown people will naturally be who white people (or officers of a justice system created for white people) perceive as the usual suspects. 

Just last month, we reported multiple incidents involving white people harassing Latino workers after deciding on sight that they must be in the country illegally. They determined this based on absolutely nothing but the workers’ race. What Texas Republicans are doing would essentially be that, only it’s the police who get to do it with the law’s blessing.

To add insult to injury, in order to force the bill through, House Republicans “truncated debate on the legislation, employing a rarely used procedure to cut off amendments Democrats could propose beyond those that were on the House speaker’s desk,” NBC reported. That move outraged House Democrats like Rep. Armando Walle (D-Houston), who dragged Texas GOP legislators during the House session, telling them, “Y’all don’t live in our fing skin.”

Walle was especially upset at Rep. Cody Harris (R-Palestine) who sponsored the motion to cut off debate.

“You’re my friend, man, I love you, but this fing hurts,” Walle said to Harris. “The s—t that happens on this goddamned floor hurts. I can’t go hang out with myI can’t hang out with my brother, my cousin, OK. I can’t take them anywhere, bro? I can’t go to a boda (wedding), I can’t go to a baptism, because my community is being attacked?”

Walle told NBC that he doesn’t regret his profanity-laced rant at all, and he essentially said Republican legislators employ racist legislation in order to placate their equally racist voter base.

“I’ve been in the Legislature 16 years and over time there has been this salacious appetite to feed Republican primary voters by demonizing border issues,” Walle said.

So, the House bill now goes to the state Senate, and it will likely pass if Texas’ legislative history is any indication.

In 2017, Texas passed its first “Show Me Your Papers” law allowing law enforcement officials to ask people about their citizenship and immigration status. The law even allowed for the removal of police officers who failed to do so.

But yeah, CRT—an academic study that examines racial bias in American institutions such as the law—is definitely a sham. 


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