Immigrants rallied at the Texas Capitol Wednesday to oppose Gov. Abbott’s calls to make a ban on sanctuary cities an emergency item.
At the State Capitol close to 100 immigrants and activist rallied against so-called sanctuary city legislation. They’re worried about a bill filed by Sen Charles Perry a Lubbock Republican. It would withhold funding from local law enforcement departments if officers arrest immigrants –even for minor charges – then don’t hold them longer for possible deportation.
Maria Fructosa’s, 43, was one of dozens of legal immigrants who spoke at the rally. In 2015, Fructosa’s adult son was detained by federal immigration agents after police in Pearsall southwest of San Antonio stopped him for a traffic violation.
“So my son was detained because of a traffic stop because one of his lights was out and because of that he was then transferred and detained for three months," she says.
Fructosa says her son was finally released – 3 months later -after federal agents determined he was in the country legally. She says every morning since she has clutched her son a little tighter.
"Every morning I give him a blessing, I tell him to have a good day, to go with the blessing of God because sometimes we see each other in the morning and we don’t know if we are going to see each other that night," she says.
Fructosa fears that under Sen. Perry’s bill, detention and deportations will increase. She says Texas immigrants will be afraid of reporting crimes because they might end up being deported.
Bob Libal with Grassroots Leadership, a non-profit fighting for fewer deportations, believes Latinos would be targeted if Perry’s bill passes.
“There’s that old saying in Texas, you can beat the rap but you can’t beat the ride. And a ride downtown now means deportation. So this essentially opens up a license for individual officers to discriminate if they suspect someone is undocumented," he says.
Libal claims when similar laws passed in other states deportations that began with minor traffic stop increased.
Thursday, a Senate Committee begins debate on a sanctuary city ban.