‘Sanctuary Cities’ bill poses possible threat for St. Edward’s students


The controversial Senate Bill allowing local law enforcement to question a person’s documentation status was blocked by U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia.

U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled against and blocked Senate Bill 4, the state law allowing local law enforcement to question a person’s immigration status during detainment or arrest, or even during routine interactions like traffic stops on Aug. 30. Local law enforcement officials could face fines or removal from office should they refuse to cooperate.

More specifically, Judge Garcia blocked a contentious provision of the law in which government entities and officials may not “adopt, enforce or endorse” policy that limits the enforcement of immigration of laws; however, local law enforcement officials are still allowed to question the immigration status of those they detain. 

With local law enforcement extending to college campus police, an unsettled feeling translates onto undocumented college students.

St. Edward’s junior Josue Damian-Martinez pinpoints his concern of family visitation, stating that his parents’ status strains their ability to visit St. Edward’s. 

“I don’t feel good telling my parents they can come to Texas,” Damian-Martinez said. “It isn’t safe for them anymore.

Fellow St. Edward’s junior Jose Garibay cites the same concern, highlighting the risk of escalation in possible traffic stops for visiting families who are undocumented. 

“I remember when all of this was being debated, the line I’ll never forget is ‘from broken taillights to broken homes,’” Garibay said. “It really is just a simple mistake that can be a really huge problem.” 

Undocumented students also fear going out into the greater Austin area. 

“It mostly affects me as a St. Ed’s student by no longer feeling safe on my campus,” said Joseph Ramirez. “Having to worry if ICE agents will randomly show up and ask for students is a lingering worry.” 

St. Edward’s has an extensive history of serving students from a variety of backgrounds, as it is a core to its mission founded by the Congregation of Holy Cross.

According to Garibay, SB 4 especially detracts from this mission: “It goes against the culture the campus is trying to create.”

All three students agree that St. Edward’s has proven to be a helpful and guiding resource in a time of uncertainty for its undocumented students.

“There’s always been immense support,” Damain-Martinez said.

Garibay and Damian-Martinez both cited Arcelia Hernandez, Assistant Professor of Bilingual Education, and Rocio Rangel, CAMP associate director of admission, as prevalent sources of support on campus.

Garibay applauded the university’s efforts to inform it students on SB 4 and recent controversies facing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in events like America I Will’s “DACAmented on the Hilltop” event last Thursday. 

“Early on, I don’t think I could have said I felt as supported,” Garibay said, “But I think the school has taken huge steps toward being ready for those problems [SB 4 and DACA’s rescindment].”