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State Immigration Laws Raise Racial Profiling Concerns

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Emma Winger from the American Immigration Council tries to help Jean look less “undocumented” while addressing a slate of new state laws that target immigrants.
the details
In the last two years, several states have passed severe laws aimed at undocumented immigrants that many say lead to racial profiling. Texas governor Greg Abbott signed that state’s Senate Bill 4 in December,...
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Show transcript
00:00
Ok, well, this story sucks.
00:03
States governors and legislators have always been harassing immigrants,
00:06
but now Georgia, Florida and Texas have taken it to a
00:09
whole new level. The Georgia State House passed a bill that
00:13
allows for anyone suspected of being in the United States illegally to
00:17
be arrested. Texas is also on the same wave.
00:21
Texas law enforcement at state and local levels have the authority under
00:25
law SB four to arrest jail and prosecute migrants for unauthorized entry
00:30
or re entry into the US,
00:32
which goes against the federal government's immigration policy.
00:35
And Florida has proposed a bill that could get you arrested as
00:39
a smuggler if you're driving someone around who is an illegal immigrant
00:45
that's insane to help explain these bills and laws and how
00:49
it will affect civilians.
00:50
Is Emma Ringer from the American Immigration Council.
00:53
Hi, Emma, welcome.
00:58
Can you explain how these new laws and bills will lead
01:01
to profiling? As you just mentioned,
01:03
lots of states are passing laws or considering passing laws that allow
01:08
police officers and other local law enforcement authorities to arrest or detain
01:13
a person based only on the fact that that person supposedly came
01:16
into the country illegally or is undocumented.
01:20
So, this law called SB for creates new state crimes for
01:25
illegally entering Texas from Mexico and illegally reentering Texas after being deported
01:32
And that part even applies if someone is now has legal
01:35
status, they could still in theory be arrested in,
01:37
in Texas for that.
01:39
And it also requires Texas judges to order people deported
01:44
if they're convicted of these new crimes.
01:47
Now, as you mentioned,
01:48
there are a lot of problems with this law,
01:51
including that states are not supposed to decide who can enter
01:55
this country and they definitely aren't supposed to deport people.
01:57
And that's why the federal government has filed a lawsuit challenging the
02:02
law. And why the federal court has blocked it from
02:06
going into effect. So that case is at the Supreme
02:09
Court and we should find out soon whether SP four will actually
02:12
go into effect. But as you mentioned,
02:14
a big problem with these laws is that they essentially tell police
02:20
officers right, that they can arrest somebody that they think is
02:23
here illegally and that raises real concerns about racial profiling,
02:29
which is not new,
02:30
right? There are a lot,
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there have been a lot of studies showing that police already disproportionately
02:36
target black and brown people for stops and arrests.
02:41
And now these laws basically have local law enforcement of officers
02:46
looking for people, they think look undocumented,
02:50
right. On that note,
02:52
like what makes someone look illegal.
02:54
Should we like, what can we tell people about?
02:56
Like, you know,
02:56
is there a way that we can look not illegal?
02:58
Like, I don't understand there's no such thing as looking illegal
03:02
right? But I think when you talk about what to
03:05
tell people, right?
03:06
It's really important to remember that everybody has constitutional rights when they
03:12
are approached by the police.
03:14
and this is true no matter what your immigration status is
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right. You do not have to tell a police officer your
03:22
immigration status. You can say that you need to speak to
03:25
a lawyer. It's really good to investigate your rights because
03:30
there are lots of resources out there even if you just Google
03:32
Right? No,
03:33
you're right. There are a ton of good sources out
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there. Thank you so much for joining us today and
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helping us understand a little bit more,
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helping our community understand a little bit more.
03:45
because like you said,
03:46
they do have rights and often times they end up feeling like
03:49
it's laws like these that make them feel like they don't.
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So it's always important to talk about no matter how difficult
03:54
it is. So,
03:54
thank you so much,
03:55
Emma, thank you and thank you for having me.
03:57
Thank you for coming on.