Growing Fears in Immigrant Communities

Amid more federal and state crackdowns on illegal immigrants, some Latinos feared that Hurricane Harvey relief efforts could serve as another excuse to round up people without documents, as Dennis J Bernstein learned.

By Dennis J Bernstein

Federal and state initiatives targeting undocumented immigrants have spread alarm through Latino communities as people face ethnic profiling,  and some in Houston even feared seeking refuge from Hurricane Harvey because of the possibility they would run afoul of law enforcement.

“Texas is ground zero for the fight against Trump-inspired, white nationalist legislation,” said Salvador Sarmiento, National Campaign Coordinator for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), which represents thousands of day laborers across the country. Sarmiento has also been leading the fight against recently passed anti-immigrant legislation in Texas known as SB 4.

I spoke to him in Dallas on August 30 about the dangers that SB 4 presents for undocumented people in Texas and about the implications for hundreds of thousands of so-called “Dreamers” and their families as President Trump moves to rescind President Obama’s directive allowing them to stay in the U.S., known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).


Map of Texas (Wikipedia)

In a recent victory for NDLON and other immigrants groups, Chief U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled on August 30, that Texas officials may not implement Texas Senate Bill 4, which was set to go into effect on September 1 and would have given local law enforcement the power to ask for information regarding a person’s immigration status during routine interactions such as a traffic stop.

Critics of the law argued that it gave a green light to racial profiling and violates the First and Fourth Amendments. In his 94-page ruling, Judge Garcia maintained there is overwhelming evidence from local officials, including local law enforcement, that SB 4 would “erode public trust” and actually make many “communities less safe.”


Dennis Bernstein: I’d like to talk to you about the struggle against the draconian SB 4. But I have to begin by asking you about the more…

Read more