In an effort to urge the city council to join the litigation against Senate Bill 4, a group of civilians gathered Thursday morning on the Hays County Historic Courthouse lawn in a public press conference.

Alicia Guerrero, a master’s student at the University of Texas, spoke to the crowd about how she witnessed her father being arrested and detained byICE because he was driving without a valid license.

Guerrero reported that police took her father to the San Marcos jail where, within a couple hours, he was put under an immigration hold. She said police told her that that within two days immigration was going to pick him up and detain him.

Guerro said her family gathered around the jail and immigration decided to drop that hold and her father, who she said was a masonry worker who employs eight people, was released.

“I’m here as a witness to say that the power of the community joining together and really speaking up can really fight the system,” Guerrero told the crowd. “I’m here to state how members of the community I didn’t even know had my back really did have my back. They showed up, they fought my father’s cause and were able to release him within a couple of hours.”

Yunuen Alvarado, an undocumented Texas State student and a member of the organization SCOPE which supports and serves undocumented students, also spoke to the crowd.

“It’s still terrifying for me that I will get pulled over for the color of my skin, for being too brown,” she said. “We’re here today because we want the city council of San Marcos to understand and we support our community because, at the end of the day, our people are immigrants.”

She said that although she believes the city council has not taken a strong stand, 40 local businesses have.

One of those is Gil’s Broiler, one of the oldest restaurants in San Marcos, who’s owner, Ruben Becerra, also voiced his opinions at the event.

“As a small business owner, I think it’s important to realize we have an immigrant community that makes so much of our labor pool, so much of our customer base,” he said. “Pull the Hispanics out of this community alone and see what you’re left with.”

Becerra, who was vocal about being immigrant, is also the president of the Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos.