The first round of anti-immigrant bills will be receiving hearings this week, which could begin as early as Wednesday at noon. House State Affairs Committee (where many of the anti-immigrant bills are being sent) will have its first hearing on 6 immigration-related bills:
- HB12 a bill eliminating so called ‘sanctuary cities’ preventing any government subdivision from prohibiting their police from doing immigration work.
- HB 623 an omnibus bill that takes away instate tuition, makes English the official language, includes a sanctuary city section, prohibits people without status from getting professional and occupational licenses, etc.
- Others anti-immigrant: HB 18, 183, 875
- Pro-immigrant: HB 603 a pro-immigrant bill that prohibits law enforcement inquiries into the nationality or immigration status of a victim of or witness to a criminal offense.
The hearing process is our first chance to put our opposition to or support of the bills on record and RITA is organizing groups around the state to come to the Capitol to participate in that process.
But participation in the hearings process is difficult, with committees changing agenda items and times, and postponing agenda items at whim. The hearing process is designed against the participation of regular people and is a prime example of how undemocratic state legislative politics can be. RITA members preparing for the hearings know they will have to stay at the Capitol all day Wednesday and are prepared to stay overnight if they have to. That effectively bars working people from participating in person in the hearing process.
While we wait to find out how we can make voices from the Valley heard in the public hearings, we organize ever more diligently for this year’s Cesar Chavez March. Because we can’t run up to Austin each time there is a hearing, we will have to show our strength and numbers this March 26th, when Valley residents will march and rally in memory of our leader Cesar Chavez and against the attack on our families and communities coming out of the state legislature. Texas politicians will be watching to see if Texas Latinos will be coming out and marching in larger numbers. They want to know if we are going to be complacent and accept their attack or stand up and fight. Let’s show them that we care and won’t give up without a fight. Because our families, our jobs, and our communities depend on it.
Please make plans to join us, March 26th, 9am at LUPE’s office in San Juan.