Senate Bill 9 will probably come up for a vote THIS WEDNESDAY in the Senate Transportation & Homeland Security Committee. This bill is of great concern because it endorses the immigration enforcement program S-Comm, which requires local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws. It also creates further barriers to obtaining a Texas driver’s license and jeopardizes the economy and security of Texans. Further information about SB9 is at the bottom of this alert.
Valley Senator Hinojosa, who sits on the committee, has not come out against the bill. Please call him now 512-463-0120 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 512-463-0120 end_of_the_skype_highlighting and tell him:
We value the separation of responsibilities between local police and federal immigration officers. SB 9 will damage the close relationships between immigrant communities and local police, which have resulted in improved community safety and better law enforcement. Vote No on SB 9.
More information on the bill from the Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance follows below.
John-Michael and the LUPE team
What’s wrong with SB 9?
*Adapted by RITA from MALDEF
S-Comm (Secure Communities) Provisions: Enacts a law that is repetitive of current existing procedures under the Federal Administration of Secure Communities. There is no immediate need to put these procedures into code as deportations are already dramatically on the rise under the Obama Administration as result of S-Comm.
Driver License Provisions:
* DPS has gone through 3 different visitor guides to train DPS clerks on their current rules demonstrating how complex the issue is and how arbitrary DPS is applying the rules. As an example, the K visa on each of the guides continues to change.
* US Citizens have been denied a Drivers License for being foreign born despite using a US Passport because DPS policies considered the US Passport insufficient evidence of Citizenship.
* The issue has become so complex that persons now have to get lawyers to represent them and call DPS’s general counsel to work out their individual DL issue on a consistent basis.
* Because of the complexity of the issue and the haphazard application of the law, many complaints are being made thus using up additional resources from DPS. MALDEF has DPS employees tell us that they wished these rules never went into effect because of the rising number of complaints and the complexity of the issues.
* Businesses are being affected because their workers are being denied licenses.
* Families are being affected because they are being denied licenses or being given “temporary visitor licenses,” preventing them from accessing bank accounts, getting car insurance, and other purchases.
* By requiring thousands of persons with indefinite visas to come back with documents each year, more scarce state resources are being used necessitating a fee increase.
Security and Safety Concern
* Create higher insurance prices, less safe drivers, and fewer tools available for law enforcement to locate potential witnesses and suspect
* Less Access to Driver’s License results in more unsafe drivers
* Increased accidents and insurance losses
* Prevent many drivers from getting tested, registered, and photographed and acquiring insurance
Voter ID Implications:
* SB 9 provides DPS with the statutory authority to determine and verify U.S. citizenship (despite its irrelevance to eligibility for a Texas driver’s license) making it one step closer to even stricter and more suppressive voter identification and registration regimes.
* Elderly and minority Texans are already experiencing significant barriers in obtaining drivers’ licenses under the new rules. SB 9 opens the door to turn more away from the polls not only with a new Voter ID law, but also with additional restrictions on obtaining a Texas driver’s license or ID.
Please call Senator Hinojosa now 512-463-0120 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 512-463-0120 end_of_the_skype_highlighting and tell him to vote against SB9!