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Traveling to Texas May Result in Violations of Constitutional Rights

09 May 2017 Published in Newsroom

“Everyone has constitutional rights in this country. The state of Texas, and every law enforcement officer in that state, must respect those rights." TravelAdvisory

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                
 May 9, 2017

ACLU of Utah Issues Texas Travel Advisory:

Traveling to Texas May Result in Violations of Constitutional Rights

SALT LAKE CITY – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Utah is issuing a travel alert informing anyone planning to travel to Texas in the near future to anticipate possible violations of their constitutional rights when stopped by law enforcement.

The alert comes amid the passage of SB4, a Texas law that allows local law enforcement police to investigate a person’s immigration status during a routine stop, leading to widespread racial profiling, baseless scrutiny, and illegal arrests of citizens and non-citizens alike, presumed to be “foreign” based on how they look or sound.  

“If you think this sounds a lot like Utah’s HB497, over which the ACLU of Utah successfully sued in 2011, you are right,” said ACLU of Utah Executive Director Brittney Nystrom. “Just as we beat back HB497, and our colleagues beat back the Arizona law upon which HB497 was based, the ACLU of Texas will actively oppose SB4.”

The ACLU of Utah joined the national ACLU and multiple state ACLU affiliates in warning people throughout the nation that travel to and within Texas may now result in the aforementioned violations of constitutional rights, especially for Latino travelers or other travelers who may be mistaken for Latino.

“We plan to fight this racist and wrongheaded law in the courts and in the streets. Until we defeat it, everyone traveling in or to Texas needs to be aware of what’s in store for them,” said Terri Burke, Executive Director of the ACLU of Texas. “The Lone Star State will become a ‘show me your papers’ state, where every interaction with law enforcement can become a citizenship interrogation and potentially an illegal arrest.”

SB4 will go into effect Sept. 1, 2017. However, the ACLU is concerned that some law enforcement officers may begin to treat residents and travelers unfairly before then. If you believe your rights have been violated in Texas because of SB4, please contact the ACLU of Texas at 1-888-507-2970.

“Everyone has constitutional rights in this country. The state of Texas, and every law enforcement officer in that state, must respect those rights,” asserted Nystrom. “We are proud to say that the ACLU stands ready to safeguard those freedoms against those who seek to diminish them.”

ACLU “Know Your Rights” materials are available in a variety of languages at: aclu.org/know-your-rights

Information about the ACLU’s Texas Travel Advisory Campaign is available here: www.aclu.org/news/aclu-issues-texas-travel-advisory

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