FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 26, 2023
Alan Lizárraga | (915) 355-0109 | firstname.lastname@example.org
BNHR Issues Human & Civil Rights Warning On the State of Texas
Texas House of Representatives Approves Legislation to Allow State to Detain, Arrest, & Deport Immigrant Families
EL PASO, Texas – Yesterday, the Texas House of Representatives held a floor vote on several anti-immigrant, punitive, and xenophobic bills. House Bill 6 allocates 1.5 billion more dollars for border barrier construction, bringing Texas’s spending on border militarization to nearly 11.5 billion dollars. House Bill 4 creates new criminal codes authorizing all Texas peace officers to detain, transport, and “remove” individuals suspected of entering the State unlawfully by driving them to U.S. Ports of Entry and ordering them back. Additionally, it shields them from any monetary damages or penalties. Senate Bill 4 creates an exceptionally harsh 10-year mandatory minimum for human smuggling and a minimum of five years for operating a stash house. S.B. 4 will now head to the governor’s desk for his signature.
Amidst the passing of Senate Bill 4 and the progression of H.B. 4 and H.B. 6 to the Senate chambers, the Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR) is issuing a human and civil rights warning. The following statement has been issued and can be attributed to Fernando Garcia, Executive Director of the BNHR:
“Senate Bill 4 is a broad smuggling offense provision that will be used as a vehicle for the mass criminalization and incarceration of vulnerable border and immigrant communities. Under this legislation, a person driving their undocumented grandfather, parent, classmate, or neighbor to the store, doctor’s office, or church will be charged and given a mandatory minimum of 10 years of prison sentence. These unjust, racist, classist, and punitive criminal sentences pose an extensive threat to the civil rights of people of color, border, and immigrant residents in Texas, as these punishments far exceed the common penalty under federal law.
It was clear that the third special legislative session, solely dedicated to passing state immigration enforcement policies, would be used to attack refugees, immigrant families, and border residents. We are gravely concerned that extremist legislators continue to rely on anti-immigrant, xenophobic, and inadequate deterrence policies instead of listening to the voices of those living at the border and those at the forefront of the humanitarian crisis. Today, we are issuing a human and civil rights warning on the State of Texas for its continuous anti-immigrant crusade.
This warning is an acknowledgment of the imminent threat that lingers on the human and civil rights of Texans of color, border residents, and vulnerable people. We must unite to push back on the anti-immigrant, racist, and white supremacist agenda. Extreme legislation such as H.B. 4 and H.B. 6 will further elevate the erroneous belief that barriers, deterrence, criminalization, and deportation are the only solutions to addressing the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Texans deserve more than another political stunt that will lead to more unnecessary deaths and injuries and waste valuable resources to militarize Texas further,” remarked Fernando Garcia.
The Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR) will continue to educate, organize, and uplift border residents regarding their human and civil rights and carefully follow the progression of these bills.