things that matter

Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks SB4 In Texas, But The Fight Is Not Over

Mandel Ngan / Getty

If you ask Democratic lawmakers, the American Civil Liberties Union and Latino immigration advocates, they’d all tell you that Texas’ Senate Bill 4 is unconstitutional. SB4 would ban the “Sanctuary Cities” policy in the state, which would allow local and county authorities to racially profile Latinos. Signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott in May, SB4 was supposed to take effect tomorrow, but not anymore.

Yesterday, in San Antonio, Federal Judge Orlando L. Garcia temporarily blocked against SB4.

Within 24 hours of Abbott signing SB4 into law, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and ACLU filed a lawsuit seeking a preliminary injunction to bar implementation of SB4. Their lawsuit stated that the law was “patently unconstitutional on numerous grounds and the balance of harms strongly militates in favor of preserving the status quo.”

Judge Garcia ruled that the temporary ban against SB4 is granted until this case is resolved.

Judge Garcia said yesterday that SB4 can’t ban people and/or ideas just because they disagree with certain viewpoints.

“The government may disagree with certain viewpoints, but they cannot ban them just because they are inconsistent with the view that the government seeks to promote,” Judge Garcia wrote, according to The New York Times. He added, “SB 4 clearly targets and seeks to punish speakers based on their viewpoint on local immigration enforcement policy.”

The state of Texas already said it would appeal the judge’s ruling. The case is now going to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans. The New York Times states that this court is one of the most conservative in the U.S.

When the ruling hit social media, many of those advocating against SB4 celebrated the victory.

Some are calling this a minor victory because there’s still so much work that needs to be done in order for SB4 to be completely shut down.

LULAC National President Roger Rocha tells mitú people must remain vigilant .

“People must know their rights,” Rocha tells mitú. “You can be a U.S. citizen and still get pulled over.”

Rocha also said they knew an appeal would be one of the steps in the process, and something they expected. “This fight isn’t over, and we’re very confident in our lawyers.”

Rocha says that the outcome of SB4 is very important because the final ruling will have a major, nationwide effect on the discussion of immigration and racial profiling.

“I can see this going to the all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court,” Rocha says. “Texas is ground zero, so if [SB4] passes, other states will follow and it will further divide this country.

Some on Twitter claim the judge ruled against SB4 because he’s Latino.

The New York Times also points out that Judge Garcia used to be a Democratic state lawmaker in the 1980s, and was appointed to the federal courts by President Bill Clinton in 1994.

To those critics, Rocha tells mitú the claim “doesn’t hold much water.”

“They are wrong,” Rocha says. “[Judges] need to follow the rule of law. What if it would have been a Republican judge? Judges are there to interpret the law and follow the law themselves.”

Rocha also says relief efforts in Houston paint a picture of how the community should always be with each other.

“It’s unfortunate that it takes Hurricane Harvey people coming together regardless of their nationality,” Rocha tells mitú. “It has to take a national tragedy for people to help each other. We should always be that way.”

READ: John Leguizamo Calls On Latino Celebs To Boycott Texas Because Of New Anti-Immigrant Law

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Undocumented Americans Are Breaking Stereotypes With A Social Media Campaign

things that matter

Undocumented Americans Are Breaking Stereotypes With A Social Media Campaign

Define American

Who is American to you? What does it mean to be American?

These are questions immigrants and the children of immigrants often ask themselves. And as many of them now face an uncertain future at the hands of President Trump, who stands to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program these questions become even bigger. DACA allowed certain undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children to receive protection from deportation and work eligibility.

Define American is working to shift the narrative on American identity by empowering undocumented people to tell their stories of joy and resilience with their #UndocuJoy social media campaign. Through this campaign, Define American is working to show a full representation of who undocumented Americans and fight fears.

Watch the powerful campaign video!

Per the website:

#UndocuJoy combats victimizing representations of people who are undocumented by flooding the media with authentic images of happiness.  We encourage undocumented Americans to share their authentic moments of joy, and allies are encouraged to spread their message.

Yosimar Reyes, artist in residence at Define American, created the campaign so undocumented people have a space to rewrite the narrative of who they are, away from how the media paints them. As he puts it, “the media is obsessed with our fear and not how we thrive.”

“#UndocuJoy is for all of us who are tired of answering, ‘Why don’t you just get in line?'” says Reyes. “It’s a love letter to us from us reminding each other that we can’t let a government rob of us joy. It is also a reminder to allies that we can speak for ourselves.”

Through #UndocuJoy, undocumented people find healing and are reminded that they “should exist beyond justifying our existence,” according to Reyes. As he puts it, the idea of being undocumented isn’t an identity but a social condition.

So far, people have been sharing what their #UndocuJoy looks like. For some, it’s cafecito.

For others, it’s having the freedom to explore.

It’s also about spending time at the beach with loved ones.

Whatever your #UndocuJoy looks like, the underlying message is the refusal for each undocumented person to allow the circumstances to keep them from living a full and happy life.

“It raises up the simple fact that no matter what is happening in politics, policy, or the media, our undocumented community continues to thrive,” says Sarah Lowe, digital strategist at Define American. “Their resilience is our #UndocuJoy.”


READ: Undocumented Immigrants In North Carolina Aren’t Eligible For Financial Aid, But This Woman Found A Way To Help Undocumented High School Students Who Want To Continue Their Education

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