Protesters voice opposition to Senate Bill 4

Protesters said their presence wasn't just about tonight, it was about making it clear to lawmakers that they're ready to fight moving forward.

Senate Bill 4 is expected to pass along party lines, but early Wednesday evening a strong show of opponents made their voices heard at the Capitol.

Chants echoed through the Capitol as protesters took turns speaking, chanting, and singing their feelings towards lawmakers.

The legislation would mandate local law enforcement to comply with all ICE detainer requests, essentially banning so-called "sanctuary cities."

Supporters have argued it's about enforcing laws, but opponents like Silvia Rodriguez believe it oversteps its boundaries.

"I understand the fear the immigrant community has. I grew up fearing my parents' deportation," said Rodriguez.

She told KVUE that fear became reality when her father was deported five years ago.

"It's important for me to fight for the families that are on that line, that feel that fear," said Rodriguez.

After nearly an hour in the Rotunda, protesters made their way to outside the House Gallery, demanding to be let inside.

Neil Hernandez is part of UT - LULAC, a group that represents the Hispanic community.

He said even if passed, they'll keep making their voice heard.

"It's not just a legal fight, it's a spiritual fight. It's going to take our whole community of all backgrounds, every day of all backgrounds to unite, and overcome this hateful legislation," Hernandez explained.

He took specific issue with the campus provision, which he feels will make undocumented students uncomfortable.

Austin City Council Member Greg Casar spoke at Wednesday's rally, where he shared that he felt this bill targets and scapegoats immigrants for the sake of political expediency while jeopardizing the rights of everyone.

Governor Greg Abbott has been an outspoken supporter of the legislation. On Tuesday, he tweeted "Releasing dangerous criminal aliens back onto streets after ICE detainer is requested is unacceptable."

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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