Texas educators mobilize against new anti-sanctuary immigration law SB4

Middle school teacher Nancy Cox, right, in yellow

By David Sheridan

Grassroots organizing pays off. More than a thousand activists rallied at the Texas State Capitol to deliver a powerful message in person to the Texas State Legislature and Governor—SB4 is a racist law and we will not stop fighting until it is overturned.

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On the last day of the legislative session, the protesters filled hundreds of seats in the Texas House gallery and after sitting quietly for about 40 minutes, they began to cheer and chant drowning out the legislators. The State house leadership asked state troopers to clear the gallery, and the officers lead the demonstrators out of the chamber peacefully.

Middle school teacher Nancy Cox was there. “I was inside the packed House Gallery, with my fellow protesters, wearing red shirts, and waiting for our cue to begin chanting and unfurling our banners. After we were escorted out, we were met by literally thousands of protesters on all floors of the Capitol rotunda. It was a sea of red, and it was incredibly powerful to witness and be part of.”

The demonstrators were chanting “Hey, hey, ho, ho, SB4 has to go” and holding banners which read “See you in court” and “See you at the polls.” Their red T-shirts read “Lucha,” or “Fight.” Nancy Cox adds: “This was by far the most impactful rally I have participated in—and I was at the Women’s March.”

When SB4 passed and the Governor signed it into law, Nancy Cox’s students were “devastated,” but they continue to have hope.

Governor Gregg Abbott said that anyone who had not committed a crime had “nothing to fear” from the new law. But that was, as the Texas Observer noted, “counterfactual.” In fact, SB4 allows the police to inquire about a person’s immigration status during routine interactions such as traffic stops. That is an open invitation for the police to engage in racial profiling. A similar “Show me your papers law” in Arizona was eventually struck down in court.

The Austin demonstration was organized by Education Austin, United We Dream, Worker Defense Project and other community activists. “Beautiful energy is growing in Austin and around the state,” said United We Dream’s Cristina Jiménez Moreta.

“We are going to continue to fight for social justice in Texas,” insists Nancy Cox. “Whether or not this bill actually goes into effect in September, we will fight to get it repealed. We will help progressive leaders get elected, and we will continue to teach social justice in our schools, and empower our students to advocate for themselves and our community.”

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Reader Comments

  1. I just moved to TX and am a veteran teacher of 41 years. My last part of being a teacher was as a 2nd language learner teacher. I really loved what I did and I know that I have made difference in this world, which is and always has been my goal as a teacher. This being said, I want to join my voice to repeal this racist law. Do you remember history in Germany? All people had to have papers to avoid arrest. This was the the results of this law and those who were not considered Arian went to the camps. Over 6 million people died because of the racism and profiling that changed history forever. Is the kind of country we want for our kids to grow up in? Remember that the only native Americans also paid for their culture.

  2. MarineBob:
    I’ve read your emails with interest. From what I can conclude from reading about disdain & dislike of illegal aliens, you must be related to some of the original Americans, that is, an American Indian tribe. Is that correct?

    1. You strike me as a person who is still coloring in lamentation of Hillary’s humiliating loss. By the way, your narrow minded view of the world must have caused you to miss the lesson on political correctness: those indigenous people are no longer called Indians, but native Americans.

      But to answer your simple minded question, I do not like law breakers of any ilk. Especially those who pretend to support this country by claiming it’s ok to break laws they do not like. If you don’t like a law, get it changed. My ethnic background has nothing to do with anything. To try to compare Native American experiences with today’s illegal aliens is simplistic, disingenuous, and childish.

      Once you tell me about your military experience, I will attempt to listen to your simple minded, progressive view of a very violent and complicated world.

      1. To address your simple minded comments: illegal ALIENS only exist in the Men in Black Movies. We’re all human beings, and just like you, we don’t have direct power over the changing of laws. Perhaps if you were less biased, racist, simple-minded, and more educated about the government of the United States, you’d know that the general public has little, to no influence in the process of law-making and anything of the sort. Once you learn a little, I will attempt to listen to your “simple minded” view of a very controlling and powerful government which is as biased as you.

  3. Racist law??not really…..if you come legally to this country nothing’s gonna happen to you….what part of the word iLLEGAL don’t you understand

  4. There you go again, assuming what I think. But then again, you obviously did not read the part in the article that talks about questioning a person pulled over in a traffic stop. But it is always convenient to ignore parts of something you do not like. The profiling issue is certainly part of the article. And FYI, the dirt bad in England had been on some sort of watch list and had been involved in activities that hinted at terrorist leanings.

  5. MarineBob, I absolutely agree. Despite what educators say, it is all about the money. The more children they have in class, the more money they receive (tax payer money). I won’t even go into the economic drain on OUR country and the limited resources that could be used to take care of many other things.

    1. David – Most public school districts across this country are understaffed, underfunded, and overcrowded. The per pupil expenditure of taxpayer funds seldom compensates for these deficiencies. To argue that educators and teachers in the trenches in particular want to willfully add more bodies and exaggerate an already stressful situation is laughable.

      1. If teachers et al do not want to add bodies, why are they concerned when charter schools reduce the head count in ‘standard’ public schools? That lowers the head count and the $$, in some irrational, but proportionate amount. Can’t have it both ways. Maybe if there were less illegals, even with less money available due to head count, there would be les need for ‘free’ health care, less need for police, less need for dollars that are drained to support illegals. Logic says that would make more money available for schools for legal residents. But gee whiz, we’d have to deport people who have broken the laws of this nation. What a shame.

        1. MarineBob – The charter issue is not entirely about money. It’s also about accountability and equity. Charter schools lack oversight and still have an unfair advantage in being able to skim the best students from the public system. That’s patently unfair to the poorest kids and those with special needs left behind that require more resources.

          As far as illegal aliens, their disposition is the job of ICE and the federal govt. not educators. I’m not going to worry about something over which I’ve little control

  6. Somebody please explain how allowing illegal aliens to leach off taxpayers represents ‘social justice.’ How does allowing illegal aliens to stay in this country offer justice to legal taxpayers? Maybe Britain should have done a bit of background checking before the dirtbag in that nation killed lots of innocent people. Maybe racial profiling is not a bad thing in this day and age.

    1. MarineBob – That “dirtbag” in Britain was a native born 22 year old British citizen not an illegal alien. Maybe you should do some fact-checking first before you go and undermine your own argument with blanket racial stereotypes.

      1. Maybe you should not assume I thought the dirtbag in Britain was an illegal alien. However his background did merit and warrant some checking in the form of racial/ethnic profiling. You should learn how to read what people write and not make assumptions that everyone thinks as simplistically as you. There are not too many terror attacks that have been committed by individuals who have not advocated Islamic world dominance or gang type dominance. There have also been plenty of ‘home grown’ terror type attacks committed by individuals belonging to Mexican (type) gangs. Maybe people who have displayed gang affiliation with any ethnic background ought to be investigated. Or is that racial profiling because someone belongs to a gang?

        The best solution is to segregate all illegal aliens and then solicit contributions from the Kennedy’s, Clinton’s, Obama’s, Pelosi’s, Schumer’s, teacher organizations and so forth to support those folks’ stay in this country. No contribution by legal taxpayer money. I wonder how many would then open their wallet wide enough to support an approach like that?

        1. MarineBob – Racial profiling has nothing to do with the substance of the posted article or your thoughts expressed before it. Can you say coherent writing?

          That said, it troubles me that you express little or no concern about profiling people who have no previous criminal background or radicalization like the student in the UK bombing, someone who until this point was a law-abiding natural born citizen. I’m sure if the subject was white, and had committed no crimes or expressed no overtly racist views before committing a hate crime, you would have a different take on the matter.

          1. Yeah, you are right. A guy who is ‘law abiding’ waving ISIS flags in the park shouldn’t be subject to profiling. Just let him kill a bunch of people and then later applaud the idea he was not profiled. Perfect

            1. MarineBob – If that law abiding guy was waving a Confederate flag instead, you’d be aghast if someone mentioned the word ‘profile.’ In fact, you’d probably be bending over backwards to protect his right of free expression.

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