The summer of 2017 has tested San Marcos residents in more ways than just the nearly insufferable heat. As we settle into the first year of the new administration, as well as the end of the 85th Texas legislature, our community faces questions of justice and inclusiveness.
On May 6th, Gov. Greg Abbott signed the anti-immigrant Senate Bill 4. This bill requires local law enforcement agencies to act as an extension of federal immigration authorities. Police chiefs from across the state have come out in opposition to the bill, stating that it would only make Texas less safe and daily policing more difficult.
Last weekend, a Dripping Springs father of five was arrested for driving without a license. Despite having lived in Texas for 30 years, Martin Guerrero, a masonry business owner and faithful church-goer was jailed and due to enter deportation proceedings Sunday morning. However, after hundreds of protestors came to demand his release, he was reunited with his family.
While Sheriff Cutler exercised his discretion to honor Guerrero’s 4th amendment rights, not letting a traffic infraction result in the needless, immoral shattering of a local family, come Sept. 1, Senate Bill 4 will thwart Sheriff Cutler from doing that.
Immediately following the signing of SB4, the city of El Cenizo and Maverick County valiantly sued the state of Texas, stating the bill violated both the Texas and U.S. constitutions. Major cities such as Dallas and Houston, and our neighbors San Antonio and Austin quickly joined the lawsuit as well. Even historically conservative cities such as Arlington and Ft. Worth, but not San Marcos.
In what appears to be an effort by our city council to remain unbiased, they have been largely unresponsive to calls to action to defend the community’s most vulnerable members; however, they understand you cannot be neutral on a moving train, and lack of political action is still a political stance, especially in the face of an impending human rights crisis. Up to this point, they have consciously chosen to support SB4.
The silver lining in this terrible situation is it has brought individual members of the community and local businesses together to take a moral stand against the bill and call for our city council to join them. Nearly three dozen businesses have publicly signed on to such a petition, including Root Cellar Café, Tantra Coffeehouse, Rheas Ice Cream, Wake the Dead Coffeehouse, Jo’s Café and Vagabond to name a few.
The majority of the editorial board of this great city’s student newspaper is officially signing on in solidarity as well.
It would simply be immoral for us students—many of us afforded a wealth of privileges—to let our fellow San Martians face the dangers of the most ruthless and vicious anti-immigrant bill this country has ever seen. If police chiefs all over our state can take a stand, it is imperative that student leaders, the future of this nation, do as well.