State lawmakers spent most of Tuesday trying to save and scuttle a long list of pending bills before a legislative deadline. The political theater under the pink dome attracted visitors like students from LSU. They were in Austin celebrating the end of finals week.
"Yeah I'd say it’s very different, but it is welcoming in a way. Baton Rouge is a tight knit community, hard to beat that,” said Kenny Lau.
The college kids didn't know their road trip into the Lone Star state came with a new risk. The American Civil Liberties Union posted on its Facebook page the below warning about traveling to Texas.
It claims all travelers, including U.S. citizens, are at risk of illegal arrest, racial profiling and demands to show citizenship papers. The campaign is against SB-4 which bans sanctuary city policies. It was signed into law Sunday night by Governor Greg Abbott. The travel warning, according to Astrid Dominguez with the ACLU is not a political stunt or a scare tactic.
"That’s the point of it, who is going to be stopped, who is going to be questioned, and what are you going to base the questioning on, race, how you look, and we look different across Texas and across the country we are people from across the entire spectrum and that’s what we are trying to make people realize, this is a discriminatory law this is a racist law” said Dominguez.
For the state lawmakers who were involved in the heated debate over SB4, this warning by the ACLU is more than just a satirical slap.
"This is law in Texas not until September 30, so for them to do something like this, even today, is disingenuous,” said Dallas Republican Jason Villalba.
But House Democratic Party Caucus leader Chris Turner said they warned Republicans there will be a backlash.
"We know from the Arizona example or on the North Carolina example related to the bathroom bill, when states pass discriminatory measures that single out groups of people, there are organizations businesses and individuals around the country or around the globe who will boycott,” said the Arlington Democrat.
SB4 outlaws communities from enacting policies and rules that prevent local law enforcement for complying with federal immigration law. The ban would also provide police protection for asking people about their citizenship even during routine traffic stops.
"If you're a citizen of the United States of America there should be no issue, if you are undocumented and you have come to Texas and you engage in behavior that results in lawful detention, you can expect to be asked,” said Villalba.
ACLU leaders have promised to challenge the law in court. That may hinge on the outcome of a request made in federal court on Monday. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wants a federal judge to review the new law and declare it law constitutional.