As Senate Bill 4 Goes Into Effect, Texas Freedom Network Decries State Government’s Abuse of Power

February 6, 2024

CONTACT: Emily Witt (she/her), [email protected]

AUSTIN, Texas – Senate Bill 4, which increases the minimum prison sentence for the state offense of housing or transporting undocumented people to 10 years, today went into effect.

Advocates have criticized the law, noting that people could be punished for giving a coworker, friend, or family member a ride without knowing their immigration status. If the offenses are elevated to first-degree felonies, the minimum prison term is 15 years unless another provision of law applicable to the offense provides a longer minimum prison term.

Texas Freedom Network Political Director Rocío Fierro-Pérez (she/her/ella) issued the following response:

“In weaponizing the state’s powers to harm our communities, Governor Abbott is flagrantly violating federal law and subjecting Texans to dangerous interactions with law enforcement. We are disgusted that the Texas government would openly encourage racial profiling and discrimination by law enforcement and within our own communities — yet we are not surprised by their continuous cruelty.

“Texas leaders consistently prioritize their hateful, xenophobic agenda over serving our communities. We refuse to let the people of Texas forget this, and we will never stop advocating for the safety and dignity of everyone living in Texas, regardless of their immigration status. Texas Freedom Network remains in solidarity with partners advocating for the safety of border communities.  To our undocumented neighbors and border communities: We are forever with you in this fight.”

Extremist rhetoric surrounding Senate Bill 4 has ignited a far-right convoy to the border that culminated in various rallies over the weekend.

A 2023 report from Human Rights Watch found Texas’ Operation Lone Star immigration enforcement has led to the deaths of 74 people over 29 months, including a 7-year-old child.