Immigration Racism

Texas Governor Signs a “Papers Please” Racial Profiling Law

Written by SK Ashby

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed an anti-immigrant "papers please" racial profiling law that closely resembles a law (SB 1070) passed in Arizona in 2010.

But the law signed by Abbott may be even worse because it threatens local law enforcement officers who don't wish to violate their conscience.

Every major police chief in Texas, which includes some of the largest cities in the U.S., opposed the measure that allows police to inquire about the immigration status of anyone they detain, a situation that can range from arrest for a crime to being stopped for a traffic violation.

It also requires police chiefs and sheriffs — under the threat of jail and removal of office — to comply with federal requests to hold criminal suspects for possible deportation. Republicans have a strong majority in the Legislature and shoved aside Democratic objections, even as President Donald Trump’s efforts to withhold federal funding for sanctuary cities have hit roadblocks in federal courts.

There's ample reason to believe this law will be struck down or at least temporarily blocked in the first federal court room it lands in because the Supreme Court ruled against 3 out of 4 provisions included in Arizona's "papers please" law. There's already legal precedent against a broad dragnet that allows officers to question the legal status of anyone they detain.

Arizona's law was struck down, in part, because it more or less compelled Latinos and Hispanics to carry their "papers" with them at all times. The law signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott could be interpreted the same way.

This is only the latest example that Republican politicians do not actually represent the best interests or wishes of law enforcement. The state's police chiefs also unanimously opposed the law that allowed guns on college campuses and even inside mental hospitals, but Abbott signed it anyway. And yet I would guess a majority of the state's police force voted for Trump and Abbott.

Racism makes people do irrational things to themselves.