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El Weekender

No 81

Arlington City Leaders Numbed on SB 4

By Luis C. Castillo

I and other community activists recently wrote to the Mayor and City Council of Arlington asking them to join the litigation against Texas Senate Bill 4 (SB 4), the infamous “sanctuary cities” law, scheduled to become law on September 1st.   The question was posed to the Mayor and City Council because in light of all the recent local and state headlines and controversy surrounding SB 4, Arlington City leaders have been absolutely numbed on SB 4.  The City of Arlington should not remain numbed on SB 4.  Sitting on the sidelines is a covert consent to the divisive SB 4.    

I wrote to the Mayor and City Council in part, “I hope that within this governing body a sense of compassion and mutual understanding may be found among its members to the extent that the City of Arlington will join other major cities’ legal opposition to SB 4. Texas major cities of Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin have filed lawsuits against the State of Texas in their unified effort to have SB 4 declared unconstitutional on various grounds.”  

It is no coincidence that these Texas cities all have large Hispanic/Latino populations.  Arlington is no exception to this demographic characteristic and neither is our neighboring city of Fort Worth, where the fight against SB 4 is advancing.

SB 4 is scheduled to become law next month and will permit police to ask people they stop for their citizenship status.  Realistically, what are the chances that someone like the Mayor or the Police Chief and the like would be subjected to a police inquiry regarding their immigration status under SB 4?  Absolutely no chance; but on the other hand, people like me and other Latinos would be subjected to proving our citizenship at the hands of the police.  Though the proponents of SB 4 argue that the targeted population of SB 4 is "illegal immigrants," the likelihood of Americans of Hispanic descent being caught up in the mix of SB 4 enforcement is very real.  And it is for this discriminatory reason alone, if anything, that the Arlington City Council should join the legal fight against SB 4. 

Last week, I and other community activists among them Richard J. Gonzales, Maria Robles, and representatives of the NAACP Arlington Chapter and Faith in Texas organization met with Arlington Mayor Williams, a Council representative, the Police Chief and other city staff.  After the hour plus long meeting, we asked the Mayor to place the SB 4 litigation issue on the next City Council’s agenda meeting for discussion.  If anything, we like to know where the City of Arlington stands on SB 4.  As of this writing our agenda request is pending.

At the conclusion of our meeting with Mayor Williams and the others, we kindly reminded them that Arlington proudly publicizes that “Arlington is the American Dream City”.   Hmmm - let us hope it doesn’t become a nightmare to its Latino population. 



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