ACLU of Vermont Issues Texas ‘Travel Advisory’
Traveling to Texas May Result in Violation of Constitutional Rights, ACLU Warns
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 9, 2017
WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union issued a “travel alert” today informing anyone planning to travel to Texas in the near future to anticipate the possible violation of their constitutional rights when stopped by law enforcement.
The alert comes amid the passing of a Texas law known as SB4. The law gives a green light to police officers in the state to investigate a person’s immigration status during a routine traffic stop, leading to widespread racial profiling, baseless scrutiny, and illegal arrests of citizens and non-citizens alike presumed to be “foreign” based on how they look or sound. The travel alert applies to all travelers to Texas, including U.S. travelers from other states and U.S. citizens. In addition, this alert applies to all encounters with federal, state, county law enforcement including local police and sheriffs.
ACLU of Vermont executive director James Lyall: “At a time when so many states have rejected racist and wrongheaded ‘show me your papers’ laws, SB 4 is one Texas-sized step backwards. The ACLU’s experience fighting similar laws shows that SB 4 will result in widespread civil rights violations and do profound damage to local communities. Vermonters planning travel to or in Texas need to take that into consideration and be sure to know their rights.”
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.
Between 2008 and 2012, ICE requested local law enforcement to hold 834 U.S. citizens, some of whom subsequently spent days in jail as a result. Under SB4, the state of Texas is placing the rights of its residents, including U.S. citizens, in extreme jeopardy.
“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.”
SB4 will go into effect on September 1, 2017. However, the ACLU is concerned that some law enforcement officers may begin to treat residents and travelers unfairly now. If you believe your rights have been violated because of SB4, please contact the ACLU of Texas at 1-888-507-2970.
Praeli said, “Everyone has constitutional rights in this country. The state of Texas, and every law enforcement officer, must respect those rights. The ACLU stands ready to safeguard those freedoms against those who seek to diminish them.”
ACLU “Know Your Rights” materials are available in a variety of languages here: