Lubbock County Democrats speak out against Senate Bill 4

Lubbock County Democrats speak out against Senate Bill 4

The debate continues in Austin, and across the Lone Star State, surrounding legislation proposed by Lubbock Senator Charles Perry.

Senate Bill 4 was designed to require all jails and law enforcement to notify federal immigration officials and hold undocumented immigrants accused of committing a crime.

The Lubbock Democratic party held a news conference about the proposed legislation and what it could mean for millions across the state.

"If I get a speeding ticket, I don't want to be treated differently because I have some brown tones in my skin," says Christina Carrizales, the Vice Chair of the Tejano Democrats of Lubbock.

Carrizales says the proposal for Senate Bill 4 hits close to home.

"I have several family members in the police force and you're going to be putting them in a bad situations. I feel that you're opening the door to many, many lawsuits. I don't think that Lubbock can afford that," says Carrizales.

Texas Tech Political Science professor and co-chair of the issues committee for the Lubbock County Democratic party, Daniel Epstein, says this bill more than oversteps its bounds.

"This even covers university law enforcement and asks them to expend resources on doing something different besides just enforcing local. They want them to enforce federal government policy, and that's Washington's job," Epstein says.

But Lubbock Republican Party Chair Steve Evans says these statements couldn't be further from the truth.

"This is not a race issue. This bill is not an anti-immigrant bill. It seeks to compel law enforcement agencies and county sheriffs to enforce federal laws that are already on the books. This bill addresses undocumented people, and seeks to try to identify them and if they're not, then it compels the law enforcement agencies to turn them over to ICE," Evans says.

T.G. Caraway, a precinct chair for Lubbock's Democratic party, says this bill is just a scare tactic.

"Republicans want to use this as a red-herring, as an issue that gets people all riled up and stuff and not really talk about facts, and not talk about what really people in Texas need to be talking about," Caraway says.

"This is an important issue to the constituents of Senator Perry. He's been asked to address this problem – and that's what he's doing," Evans says.

Copyright 2017 KCBD. All rights reserved.