Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 4, which requires law enforcement and campus police departments to honor ICE detainers and bans any rules preventing authorities from enforcing immigration laws or asking someone about their immigration status, according to KVUE news.
Taking effect on Sept. 1, the bill requires all Texas law enforcement officers to detain people they are questioning until the U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement can make sure the person is in the country legally. If the officer does not comply with this requirement, they will be fined.
Some BYU-Hawaii students said they understand the need for the bill. Ulzika Sukhbaatar, a senior from Mongolia majoring in political science and anthropology, said, “I don’t blame them for wanting to protect their state and make sure everything is fair in terms of taxes and tax returns.”
News organizations like the Texas Tribune and NBC have labeled the law as banning any city from being a “sanctuary city” for illegal immigrants, although commentators note the bill doesn’t use that term. Comments on Facebook and YouTube videos discussing the bill are generally opposed to it, saying it is unconstitutional because it enables police to discriminate based off of appearance. In the KVUE report, supporters of the bill say it will help keep their cities safe.
“It has a lot to do with Trump,” said Sukhbaatar. “The president always has a great affect on what happens in his country and this is just one of them. As a foreigner, I do not expect to have my needs placed above that of an American in America.”
Prince Owusu, a political science sophomore from Nigeria, said, “They should do it, it will help reduce the level of crime. The legal people are more careful and considerate with their actions. At least you would expect them to, because they are in the system… they can be held accountable.”
Other students said the bill will be detrimental to the local communities. Jose Gomez, a political science senior from Costa Rica, said, “I just think that a lot of racial profiling is going to happen. Innocent people will be affected by this.
"This will give the police more power and not in the good way. People will be afraid of the police.”
The bill also states campus police departments will be expected to question any detainees about their status as well. Zou Su Ke, a political science sophomore from China, immediately asked the person next to him, “What does it say it the Constitution again?” After some inaudible chatter, he said, “All I have to say is that I think that is unconstitutional.”