Representative Wu (D – Houston) expressed disappointment that Governor Abbott declared a so-called sanctuary city ban as one of his top priorities in last week’s State of the State Address. Today, the Texas Senate voted to pass Senate Bill 4 (SB 4) on to the Texas House. SB 4 will require Texas law enforcement agencies to collaborate with U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) to investigate the immigration status of Texans. The bill’s passage follows sixteen hours of emotional testimony in the Senate State Affairs Committee by faith leaders, scholars, lawyers, judges, law enforcement officials, and advocates from all over Texas who oppose this legislation.
“We should be focusing our attention on unifying issues that strengthen and support the people who call Texas home, and not perpetuating anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies that divide us,” Wu commented. “SB 4 makes Texans less safe by undermining public safety, driving vulnerable communities into the shadows, separating families, and forcing local law enforcement to carry out duties that should be the responsibility of the federal government.”
Over 1 million Houstonians are foreign-born and have contributed $116.5 billion to the city’s economy, according to 2014 data. Considered Houston’s ‘Ellis Island’, Wu represents District 137 in Southwest Houston, where many immigrant and refugee families live and work, and more than 67% of the district’s population speak a language other than English at home.
Wu added: “This law will cause immigrant communities, both documented and undocumented, to live in fear of the police. This law also invites criminals to prey on already fearful communities; knowing that immigrant victims will now be less likely to call the police. This is not how you build a trusting and safe place to live.”
In a press conference last month with Mayor Turner, Wu stated, “Houston and Texas and the United States is a better place because of immigrants. We are a stronger nation because of people who come from other places, because of refugees, because of people who make this their home to make a better life, and who seek the American dream. We are where we are today because of immigrants.”
As a proud immigrant himself, Representative Wu remains a committed voice for all immigrants who continue to make Houston a diverse, unique, and welcoming city.