Gov. Abbott is still denying the obvious — that the new “sanctuary cities” law that he promoted and signed will result in discrimination against tens of thousands of Hispanics and members of other minority groups who are legal residents of our state. These will include thousands of Texas school children and their families.
The governor and other supporters of this ill-advised law also will continue to deny the inevitability of police profiling, but it will happen. When police are threatened with criminal penalties if they don’t help federal agents enforce immigration laws, and they are allowed to ask the citizenship status of people they detain for minor offenses, including routine traffic stops, some officers are going to start zeroing in on people of color. Most of these people will be citizens or legal residents.
Meanwhile, many school children who were born in the United States of immigrant parents who may or may not be legal residents are going to worry whether their parents are going to be there for them when they get home from class.
Even as he denies the obvious, Abbott also is very touchy about it whenever a reporter raises the issue. His wife, Cecilia, is Hispanic, and Abbott’s Hispanic mother-in-law was widely featured in a TV ad promoting Abbott among Hispanics during his 2014 campaign.
Abbott tried to avoid critical questions by signing the bill via Facebook, not in the usual public ceremony that governors hold to show off their priority pieces of legislation. But a governor can’t hide forever.
In a recent public event, Abbott told reporters he wanted “to make sure that neither she (his wife) nor her family is going to be stopped and detained inappropriately.”
I’m not worried about Abbott’s family, which will largely remain insulated from the repercussions of the new law. I am concerned, though, about the Texas school children who belong to immigrant families and will have little, if any, defense against a discriminatory law motivated by the governor’s narrow ideological politics.
He should be ashamed of himself.