Texas Senate Bill 4 – which bans sanctuary cities – is now the law in the Lone Star state, but it’s impact on public safety and the economy is a matter of brisk debate. Maria Figueroa, director of Labor and Policy Research at the Cornell University ILR School’s Worker Institute, says that SB4 will negatively impact key industries that depend on immigrant labor.
“The end result of implementing Senate Bill 4 will be to undermine the legal framework and enforcement in the state of Texas and other states that are introducing or passing similar bills. Because Senate Bill 4 does not specify a threshold for the severity of the offenses that should trigger intervention by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, it can be detrimental to the efforts of enforcement entities that are trying to focus on severe crime offenders.
“Most importantly, because of the growing fear of deportation, the immigrant population will be even more discouraged from denouncing crimes committed against them, or from seeking redress for violations of their most basic rights, including labor and employment rights.
“The law-and-order approach to immigration that underlies Senate Bill 4 and other anti-sanctuary city policies are also likely to have a negative impact on the economy of states and local communities. Restricting immigration and failing to protect the immigrant workforce can be particularly harmful to key industries in which employment of immigrants predominate, including agriculture, food processing, health care and hospitality.”
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