Senate Bill 4 impacts Hurricane Harvey’s victims

First responders, communities unprepared for ‘sanctuary city ban.’

Austin, Texas – On Friday, several bills will take effect amid the Hurricane Harvey rescue efforts. One of these bills is SB 4, the ‘sanctuary cities ban’ that allows law enforcement officers to ask people their immigration statuses during detainments and restricts their supervisors’ ability to direct the use of department resources.

State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez represents Southeast Austin’s HD-51 in the Texas House of Representatives. Austin is the capital of Texas and a major staging area for disaster relief and shelter efforts. Rep. Rodriguez also serves as policy chair of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, the oldest and largest Latino legislative caucus in the nation.

State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez issued the following statement regarding SB 4’s implementation:

“Experts are calling Hurricane Harvey a 1,000-year storm and estimate that the final price tag could reach $100 billion. More than 30,000 people have already been displaced by the storm as the rain continues to fall. It is likely to take years for Texas to recover from this historic natural disaster.

“Like many others, I am concerned that SB 4 will put innocent lives at risk and impede first responders’ heroic rescue efforts if it is allowed to take effect on Friday. Folks are afraid that they will be asked to show their papers and face deportation for seeking shelter from the storm, despite assurances to the contrary by FEMA, Governor Greg Abbott, and our city mayors.

“I hope that the U.S. District Court in San Antonio temporarily blocks SB 4’s implementation before Friday. If it does not, I call on our state’s leadership to issue a strong public statement directing local law enforcement to continue prioritizing disaster relief over immigration enforcement. People need to hear that they need not fear our first responders.

“Local law enforcement must not be held responsible for implementing SB 4 while they are busy saving lives. If postponing the law’s implementation saves just one life, it will have been worth it.”

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