Last Tuesday, Sept. 5, the Irving Police Department (IPD) held an informational meeting at MacArthur High School concerning Senate Bill 4 after the recent injunction took place.
Senate Bill 4 forbids local law enforcement from assuming policies that would prevent officers from investigating the immigration status of a legally detained person.
The law also requires police departments to hold detained person for 48 hours at the request of Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE). If these conditions are not met, then local law enforcement officials may be removed from office, face jail time, or be fined.
Irving Police Chief Jeff Spivey, spoke to a crowd composed of those for and against the bill, and assured them that IPD would operate “business as usual.”
SB4, branded as an anti-Hispanic law by its critics, would have gone into effect Sept. 1, 2017 had U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia not issued a ruling against a section that would have obligated local law enforcement officials to transfer illegal immigrants to federal immigration agents and set punishments for those not adhering to the law.
However, law enforcement officials are still allowed to ask about the legal status of a detained individual.
“Right now, because there’s a court case out of the northern district of Texas, … if you make bond at the City of Irving jail, even if you have a 48-hour detainer on you, we are going to release you,” Spivey said.
The Irving Police Department reminds citizens that most incidents in which officers are allowed to ask about the legal status of a person occur at a routine traffic stop; therefore, those without means of identification should avoid driving when possible.
Spivey also highlighted the fact that officers are not permitted to ask such questions to passengers or victims of crime.
“What doesn’t get talked about a lot in the media is there’s no requirement that you answer that question,” Spivey said.
He said that the only requirement when you are stopped for a traffic violation is that you identify yourself with your name, home address and birthdate.
Meanwhile, students at the University of Dallas are concerned with how SB4 will affect their ability to continue their education.
“If my parents were to get detained, I would have no way to continue making my payments,” said a female politics major who chose to remain anonymous. “My main priority wouldn’t be Lit Trad. I would cut off my education to help my parents.”
Still, many students are unaware that SB4 could make traffic stops longer than usual. In an effort to avoid racial profiling, Irving police officers who have inquired about the legal status of one person must continue to do so of all detained persons in similar circumstances that occur afterwards.
“It’s good in a way, that its not to target a specific individual,” freshman and Irving citizen Yukima Fushimi said. “But it’s still racial profiling in the sense that some people don’t have to worry about the question anyway.”
Whether they agree with the injunction or not, the law affects various individuals’ ability to work and study, and IPD has made it clear that they will comply with federal law.