Media Contact

Stephen Wilson, ACLU of Texas, (713) 325-7010, media@aclutx.org

October 20, 2017

AUSTIN —U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions held a press conference at the Texas State Capitol today to affirm President Trump’s position on immigration and to praise Texas’s Senate Bill 4, the measure that subjects officials to severe penalties should they prioritize local public safety needs over federal immigration enforcement. Following his remarks, Mr. Sessions did not field questions from reporters in attendance.

“If Attorney General Sessions wants to protect public safety and taxpayer money, then he should let local law enforcement officers do their jobs rather than trying to draft them into his deportation force,” said Andre Segura, legal director of the ACLU of Texas. “There are good reasons the sheriffs of Travis, Dallas, Harris, Bexar and El Paso Counties, along with police chiefs from Dallas, Houston, Austin, Arlington, Fort Worth and San Antonio oppose SB4, and any other measure that diverts their resources and threatens their capacity to effectively serve their communities. AG Sessions, Governor Abbott, and President Trump should listen to them.”

In addition to an op-ed co-signed by several Texas police chiefs opposing SB4, law enforcement officers were also well represented among the hundreds who appeared at the Texas Capitol to testify against the bill earlier this year. More recently, in a brief submitted in the ongoing lawsuit against SB4, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo confirmed that SB4 threatened the lives of undocumented immigrants who feared seeking assistance during Hurricane Harvey.

“Mr. Sessions’s remarks this morning were predictably fraught with scare-mongering, scapegoating and misinformation,” said Astrid Dominguez, immigrants’ rights strategist for the ACLU of Texas. “In fact, the only undisputable statement Mr. Sessions made today was that law enforcement is not the problem. He is the problem. Governor Abbott is the problem. President Trump is the problem.”