The American Civil Liberties Union — which most recently said the travel ban enacted by President Trump would be legal if Hillary Clinton had done it — is warning anyone who will listen not to go to Texas.
Why? Because the ACLU says anyone planning to travel to Texas in the near future can expect "the possible violation of their constitutional rights when stopped by law enforcement."
The liberal group decries the signing of a new state law that empowers police officers to investigate a person's immigration status during routine traffic stops. The ACLU says the law, which takes effect Sept. 1, will lead to "widespread racial profiling baseless scrutiny, and illegal arrests of citizens and non-citizens alike."
And yes, the "travel alert" was also aimed at citizens of other countries who may be planning a trip to the Lone Star state.
“The ACLU’s goal is to protect all Texans and all people traveling through Texas — regardless of their immigration status — from illegal harassment by law enforcement,” said Lorella Praeli, ACLU director of immigration policy and campaigns. “Texas is a state with deep Mexican roots and home to immigrants from all walks of life. Many of us fit the racial profile that the police in Texas will use to enforce Trump’s draconian deportation force.”
Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas, said: "We plan to fight this racist and wrongheaded law in the courts and in the streets. Until we defeat it, everyone traveling in or to Texas needs to be aware of what's in store for them,"
And she got pithy with it. "The Lone Star State will become a 'show me your papers' state, where every interaction with law enforcement can become a citizenship interrogation and potentially an illegal arrest."
The ACLU says the new law, SB4, requires Texas law enforcement to comply with the federal government’s "constitutionally flawed use of detainer requests, which ask local law enforcement to hold people for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), even when they lack the legal authority to do so."
Of course, the ACLU feels that Texas trying to protect its own state citizens will surely lead to abuse.
“It is simply a matter of time before illegal arrests occur. Local law enforcement will have to decide between violating a person’s rights and being severely fined, thrown in jail, or even being removed from office for choosing not to do so,” Burke said.
On Sunday, Gov. James Abbott signed the bill into law, saying: "Citizens expect law enforcement officers to enforce the law. Citizens deserve law breakers to face legal consequences."
As for whether local jurisdictions can simply decide not to enforce the law — as "sanctuary cities" now do — Abbot said: "Elected officials and law enforcement agencies, they don't get to pick and choose which laws they will obey."
Abbott slammed Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez for refusing to honor detainers. “This law cracks down on policies like [those held by] the Travis County sheriff, who declared that she would not detain known criminals accused of violent crimes,” said Abbott. “Those policies are sanctuary city policies and won’t be tolerated in Texas.”
By the way, if you're wondering whether President Trump is having an effect on illegal entries into the U.S., the answer is an emphatic "yes."
"Illegal immigration across the southwestern border is down a stunning 76 percent since President Trump was elected, with the flow of children and families dropping even faster as analysts say the administration’s commitment to enforcing the law has changed the reality along the border," The Washington Times reports.
"Overall apprehensions by the Border Patrol dropped to just 11,129 in April, according to numbers released Tuesday, marking the lowest monthly total for any month in decades."