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Statement from Aaron Rippenkroeger, President and CEO of Refugee Services of Texas on Senate Bill 4

Texas Senate Bill 4, approved by the Legislature and signed by Governor Greg Abbott, is harmful, discriminatory, and dehumanizing toward all immigrants—including refugees, asylees, Special Immigrant Visa holders (SIVs), and survivors of human trafficking served by Refugee Services of Texas.

The “show me your papers” approach contained within Senate Bill 4 violates Texas values and the state’s tradition of neighborliness and welcoming. It will also likely:

  • Lead to racial profiling of vulnerable populations across the State of Texas. Many of Refugee Services of Texas' Muslim clients have already reported increased incidents of harassment in their communities. 
  • Reverse intentional, community-based policing efforts that are vital to public safety in neighborhoods across Texas because victims of crime will likely be less willing to report those incidents to law enforcement. 
  • Stigmatize survivors of human trafficking who will be less likely to come forward out of fear of being treated like criminals instead of victims.
  • Damage the authority of local police and sheriff's officials to keep their own communities safe because the bill imposes stiff penalties, including jail time and removal from office, if a local official refuses to honor a detainer or to participate in federal immigration enforcement even when such action is shown harmful.

We urge the Legislature to repeal Senate Bill 4 before it becomes law on Sept. 1, and we call on all Texans to contact their local legislators to voice their opposition to this misguided and harmful legislation to immigrant and refugee populations.

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