Politics The World

Texas is on the attack, and the most vulnerable in our society are in danger

Texas cities, counties, and immigrant advocacy groups are battling it out with the state to repeal the Senate Bill 4, which will ban sanctuary cities in Texas and allow law enforcement to question the immigration status of people they detain.

The law, signed by Gov. Greg Abbott in May and is slated go into effect on September 1 and reflects the current policy crackdown toward undocumented immigration in the United States. It’s been considered the toughest state-based immigration legislation in the nation.

We’re breaking down what you need to know about this piece of legislation, how people are fighting to repeal it and the broader national implications of these anti-sanctuary city policies:

What exactly will SB4 do?

The Texas SB 4 immigration enforcement law, or what many critics call a “sanctuary city ban”, is forcing cities, local agencies and law enforcement officials to comply with federal policy to enforce immigration law. Those who don’t comply are subject to heavy fines, removal from office or criminal prosecution.

SB4 will also prohibit local agencies from implementing policy counteractive to the enforcement of federal immigration laws, or preventing officers from asking about immigration status.

[bctt tweet=”This could make undocumented folks more vulnerable to crime.” username=”wearethetempest”]

The law also enables law enforcement officers to ask people they detain, even if they’re a victim or witness to a crime, about their immigration status if the officer has “probable cause” to believe they’re undocumented.

SB 4 could make undocumented folks more vulnerable to crime because of possible repercussions from law enforcement when they report a crime. In fact, a group of Fort Worth teenagers told police they strategically carried out a string of robberies targeting Latinos “because they’ve got money and they don’t call the police.”

Who’s fighting against it?

Opponents of SB 4 include the cities of Houston, Austin, San Antonio and El Cenizo, Maverick and El Paso counties, and advocacy groups statewide and nationally. They argue that the measure disproportionately targets certain communities and violates the Equation Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees equal protection and freedom of speech.

Lawmakers and immigrant rights groups warn that the bill, which includes a clause prohibiting discrimination, could encourage racial profiling and also hinder relations between law enforcement and their communities. Many have drawn comparisons between SB 4 and Arizona’s “show me your papers law,” which was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2012.

Texans are also beginning to call for an economic boycott of the state until SB 4 is repealed, encouraging people to support immigration by boycotting Texas conventions, conferences, and major sports events.

What’s going on with the legal battle now?

On June 26, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia heard arguments for and against SB 4, in which Texas cities also asked for a preliminary injunction. Opponents of the legislation argued that it violates the United States Constitution because it will lead to racial discrimination, which is prohibited by the First Amendment. Though the state argued that racial discrimination is already illegal in state law and subsequently in SB 4.

State lawyers also referenced Arizona’s controversial anti-immigrant law that was partially struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 as proof that parts of SB 4 are constitutional.

Garcia told the court that he would review the evidence but was unsure when a ruling could be expected.

On July 10, Texas representative Ramón Romero filed a proposal for an upcoming special session to repeal SB 4. Although Romero said he doesn’t think his measure, House Bill 53, is likely to become law, he hopes that there will at least be a committee hearing to entertain discussions and have an arena where people can express their concerns again to lawmakers.

What does this mean for sanctuary cities and immigrants nationally?

SB 4 has been widely considered one of the toughest immigration enforcement policies in the nation today, reinforcing the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department’s determined efforts to crack down on undocumented immigration under the Trump administration. Several states already have measures to prohibit sanctuary city policies, with more than 80 related bills pending across the country.

[bctt tweet=”SB 4 has been considered one of the toughest immigration enforcement policies in the U.S. today.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Amid the push back and threats of cutting off federal funds, sanctuary cities remain resilient. New Orleans, New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami-Dade County, Milwaukee County, Illinois’ Cook County, Nevada’s Clark County, and the California Board of State and Community Corrections have all sent letters to the Justice Department criticizing the “arbitrary” threats to punish states and cities that resist Trump immigration policy.


It’s time to look policy right in the face, and The Tempest is doing exactly that

At the close of 2016, many of us looked back on the year with a mixture of incredulity and sadness. We felt the deep reverberations of a changing political global landscape, riding the shockwaves through events like Brexit, an attempted Turkish coup, and the American election campaign. For many, politics took a dark and sudden turn the night Donald Trump was elected.

Donald Trump’s rise to power and ultimate capture of the White House was jolting for many. The rhetoric he used to incite support was divisive, destructive, and crass — but the sad truth is that he was merely capitalizing on the sentiments of his support base. He’s all of our childhood bullies personified: the ones who picked on us for our names, sexualities, clothes, lunches, appearances. Our bullies tried to make us feel small, alien.

[bctt tweet=”The Tempest is launching a new Policy vertical to kick off the new political era.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Donald Trump’s victory is an affirmation that those bullies don’t merely exist on the playground. And as of today, he was sworn in as 45th President of the United States of America.

That’s not something we’re going to take lightly.

We’re not here to participate in internet slacktivism — we’re here to assert our political presence. Which is why The Tempest is launching a new Policy vertical to kick off the dawn of a new political era.

We’re here to help people like you decipher laws and policies in ways that are easily digestible for everyone. In times like these, the most powerful thing we can do is equip ourselves with knowledge.

However, keeping up with politics requires time, energy, and (more often than not) an advanced dictionary/thesaurus. Truth is, many of us become discouraged with the seemingly daunting and clunky language of politics. Bills can be up to hundreds of pages long and full of legal jargon that’s difficult to break down. It’s all-too-easy to disengage from the endless bills that flow through the congressional labyrinth.

[bctt tweet=”We’re not here to participate in internet slacktivism .” username=”wearethetempest”]

This section is going disrupt that flow, take out the haphazard fluff and get straight to what matters. We’ll walk you through some of the hottest bills, what they aim to do, and whether or not they’ll disproportionately affect you.

Given that this is such a crucial time for politics, it’s extremely important that we understand the policies which govern us. Practicing active citizenship is the best favor we can do for ourselves, regardless of whoever’s in office.

And we’re here to shake things up.

Race The World Inequality

Your privilege is showing when you’re forcing kids to speak English only

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”Nelson Mandela

Something that I have been slightly unsure about is a ‘speak English only’ policy that exists within some schools. The argument behind the rule is this- it is unfair for a certain group of children to speak a language that the others do not understand. Often, this is done out of concern for children do not speak English as their first language, as it is thought they may fall behind due to the language barrier.

And whilst the ‘speak English only’ policy has good intentions, some children can feel marginalised and punished by it. Many schools will enforce the policy within the classrooms, and in lessons. However, some schools have taken the policy way too far, and have banned children from speaking their own languages when they are at lunch, when they are walking home, or just in a private space of their own.

As a result, children tend to feel criminalised and ashamed, simply because they do not speak English. It implies that education is only accessible to those who speak English well, meaning that children who take English as a second language feel that they are unable to achieve due to the language barrier.

The idea that English should be the only language in which people should be educated in is an idea that stems from elitist and colonial customs. The education system is built so that privileged children have a better chance of success. than children from poorer backgrounds.

Children from poorer backgrounds are less likely to thrive, simply because cost, time and resources needed for educational success is not accessible to them. However, being from a less privileged background, and being unable to speak English does not mean that child is not a bright and intelligent individual.

There is a fear from teachers of children swearing and cursing the teacher in their own language, which sometimes motivates teachers to enforce the ‘speak English only’ policy. Teachers can feel scared and out of control, and often see children of color as a ‘threat’, so the rule is enforced so that they can maintain their authority.

The racism that is suffered by these children as a result of this rule can wreak havoc on their confidence, and will inevitably cause them to flout all school rules. This will result in an exclusion from the education system.

I find it difficult to believe that one has to know all their English numbers in order to be able to recite their multiplication tables. Many school subjects do not require a common language to be able to be understood. Plus, the ‘speak English only’ policy gives the impression that the teachers do not want to take the time and effort to try and learn their language, or customs.

Whilst I believe that people should learn the language of the country that they live in, I do not feel that teachers shouldn’t try to help children with their understanding by explaining things in their own language.

It will actually help them and encourage them to learn English, as they will see it as the teachers ‘meeting them half-way’ rather than being forced to put in all the effort. If learning languages is a problem for teachers, this is the perfect opportunity to start recruiting teachers that are able to provide these language services for these children.

In terms of children swearing or cursing in their language, it is almost guaranteed to be less of a problem if there is a teacher around who if fully aware of what they are saying. Because let’s be honest, teenagers who speak English fluently swear too, and they know that the teachers understand the words. Has it ever stopped them from doing it? Of course not.

There is a great deal of social politics involved when it comes to enforcing a policy like this. This is not in any way arguing that teachers who enforce the ‘speak English only’ policy do not have their student’s best interests at heart. But there does need to be communication and honest discussion about why such policies are being put forward. One may find that such a policy is an extremist position, that will result in the further exclusion of children of color.

Therefore, putting emphasis on learning English, whilst at the same time communicating to the children in their own language is in my opinion, a much better and more successful approach.