A Texas lawmaker got an earful from constituents earlier this week during a hearing on a plan to deputize citizens to assist law enforcement officers to track down undocumented immigrants near the border.
With Democrats labeling the bill proposed by Republican Rep. Matt Schaefer as creating a "vigilante death squads policy," hundreds turned out for the hearing where Schaefer was put on the defensive justifying his plan.
According to a report from the Intercept's Ryan Devereaux, "In a hearing that stretched into the wee hours of the morning Wednesday, the Texas House of Representatives heard testimony from first-generation college students, undocumented activists, parents, and children about the inherent dangers of House Bill 20," adding, "Schaefer, the founder and chair of the arch-conservative Texas Freedom Caucus, collapsed the issues of fentanyl overdoses and migration, ignoring facts and evidence to argue that migrants are responsible for a wave of death and suffering that exceeds the worst episodes of national trauma in modern American history."
In his bill, Schaefer is proposing the creation of “Border Protection Unit” which would be tasked directly under the governor to “arrest, detain, and deter individuals crossing the border.”
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Devereaux reports, "By midday, more than 300 people were registered to testify on Schaefer’s bill, nearly all of them in opposition. Many drove across the state to make their voices heard and did so despite the fact that Schaefer didn’t rise to defend his bill until after 9 p.m. Across four hours of testimony, one speaker after another blasted the proposal as racist, sloppy, dangerous, and unnecessary."
According to activist María Treviño, "This bill doubles down on these racist and illegal activities by potentially training and employing anti-immigrant hate groups. I oppose this pricey, xenophobic, and unconstitutional legislation that undermines the separation of powers of our country and believe that Texas legislators should instead prioritize the health of our residents.”
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