Senate Bill 4 will harm Fort Worth in countless ways.
- It legalizes racial profiling and encourages systemic racism. This law will normalize bigotry and lead to increased discrimination toward many segments of the local population including blacks, Asians, Muslims and members of the LGBTQ community.
- SB4 will make Fort Worth less safe because it creates an environment of distrust between local law enforcement and residents. Community engagement will be harder for police.
- SB4 will increase victimization in Fort Worth. Even though the law exempts crime victims, undocumented residents will be too concerned to report victimization for fear that local law enforcement personnel are working with ICE on the civil side of enforcing immigration law.
- SB4 will jeopardize educational attainment for local children. The stress and trauma caused by fear of parents’ potential deportation will hinder their ability to focus and learn in the classroom. Students will skip school and miss vital instructional time when parents are concerned they could be detained on the way to campus or at school.
- SB4 will hurt the local economy. Fort Worth will not be considered an innovative or welcoming community. Companies will be reluctant to do business in a market that supports legalized and codified discrimination. Fort Worth will lose economic development, corporate relations, tourism and conferences.
- SB4 will negatively impact Fort Worth’s many colleges and universities. As Texas develops a reputation for legalized racism, diverse students will choose to attend universities in other more progressive states, taking their talent and tuition with them.
- SB4 will negatively impact the workforce in North Texas. Diverse populations will stop enrolling in higher education to avoid risk of exposure to campus police who lack adequate training in immigration enforcement. Less educational attainment will mean a less productive workforce.
- SB4 will burden Fort Worth’s local law enforcement by siphoning scarce resources such as jail space, on-duty time of officers and local tax dollars to do a job that is supposed to be done by the Federal government. It will also delay police response times.
- Fort Worth leaders believe no child’s zip code should determine their future success. But SB4 will target children in zip codes with predominantly Hispanic and Latino populations by allowing them to be questioned about immigration status.
What can Fort Worth do about SB4?
Fortunately, cities in Texas – including Fort Worth – have a legal pathway to oppose laws that are unconstitutional and will negatively impact local communities. Several major Texas cities, including Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio have already activated this process by joining litigation against SB4. Fort Worth is the only one of Texas’ five largest cities to not join the lawsuit.
Does litigation mean Fort Worth is declaring itself a sanctuary city?
Pursuing litigation to challenge the constitutionality of SB4 does not make Fort Worth a so-called “sanctuary city.” Fort Worth can file litigation against SB4 to challenge its constitutionality, and win, without becoming a sanctuary city. Joining litigation against SB4 does not mean city leaders want to be a sanctuary city. It means they believe there are provisions of the law that violate residents’ constitutional rights, and they are working to protect those rights.
Shouldn’t Fort Worth abide by federal immigration laws?
Fort Worth can file litigation to challenge the constitutionality of SB4 and remain in full compliance with federal law. Joining the lawsuit does not mean city leaders are declining to abide by federal law or that they are challenging federal law. It means city leaders are challenging provisions of the state law that violate the U.S. constitution. This includes the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Click here to learn more.
Will filing litigation cost taxpayers money?
Attorneys with expertise in civil litigation and immigration law have offered pro bono services to the City of Fort Worth for any activity involved in litigation of SB4. The attorneys know that the City of Fort Worth has attorneys fully capable of handling the lawsuit, and made their offer specifically to alleviate taxpayer expense as a reason to not join the lawsuit.
Why should I care whether SB4 goes into effect?
SB4 turns Fort Worth’s diversity from one of its greatest assets into a liability.
It directly negates Fort Worth’s ability to be the most livable, healthiest, best educated and fiscally responsible cities because it negatively impacts the well-being, quality of life, academic attainment and financial health of this community.