Published 12:10 pm, Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Photo: Andrea Zelinksi / Houston Chronicle
AUSTIN — A political reckoning is coming over the so called “sanctuary city” law in Texas, leaders of a new campaign against the law are promising.
Elected Latino leaders and advocacy groups gathered in Austin and other cities nationwide on Wednesday morning to announce a new campaign aimed at keeping the issue before the public and vowing to use it to put heat on Republican leaders up for re-election in 2018.
An organic movement is spreading throughout Texas cities that show working families are fed up with the type of leadership they are seeing in Austin, said Jose Garza of the Workers Defense Action Fund, a group that has joined in the lawsuits against Senate Bill 4 which was passed during the spring and signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott.
“We know that this fight is not over,” Garza said. “We will continue to organize. We will continue to rally communities across this state. And there will be a reckoning for these kinds of discriminatory policies.”
In June, Houston joined other major U.S. cities like San Antonio, Dallas, Austin and El Paso in suing to prevent the law from going into effect.
Despite the tough talk at Wednesday’s event in Austin, groups organizing the event acknowledged that they still do not have a candidate for governor to take on Abbott and the policies like SB 4 that he has championed with little political consequence to date.
State Rep. Mary Gonzalez, a Democrat from near El Paso, said Democratic leaders were just meeting yesterday in Austin to talk about a candidate for governor.
“We are confident we will have a candidate,” said Gonzalez, who could not say when that candidate would officially step forward to run.
State Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin, said there are several people who are considering it but a lot goes into running and they are working through what it will take. Israel, who is also the Texas House Democratic Caucus vice-chair, said she is confident that even beyond the governors races there are going to be more candidates running for state House and Senate seats and challenging incumbents who supported SB 4.
“This initiative is about expressing that tension,” Israel said of the new national campaign called Not In My State.
In other states, the campaign is aimed at making sure what passed in Texas doesn’t spread to other parts of the nation, even as groups in Texas fight what they have called a “show-me-your-papers” law that they say makes some communities distrustful of law enforcement.