United Fort Worth can connect reporters with experts for interviews on the civil rights, economic and educational impacts of SB4.
Media Alert: Day of Action Against SB4
CURRENT NEWS STORY ANGLES:
- The week of July 17, one of the largest conventions of the year arrives in Fort Worth (Premier Designs Inc.). Then July 30-Aug. 5, the Southwestern Believers’ Convention will be held here. Both have an economic impact of $16 -$19M on the local economy.
- In the future, Fort Worth may not be so lucky to host such large conferences. Some groups are reluctant to schedule conventions in a community that supports racial discrimination. One convention was already cancelled in Grapevine, and local experts have identified 12 additional conferences that could be at risk (with a cumulative economic impact of $45M).
- Interview Opportunity: A local business expert can speak about the increase in businesses and associations that are taking a stance against discriminatory policies and legislation.
SB4 goes into effect on Sept. 1st, just when students are returning to school for the new academic year. A back-to-school piece could be approached from a couple of different angles:
Colleges & Universities
- DFW is home to numerous colleges and universities that serve diverse populations. The University of Texas at Arlington is the 5th most diverse university in the entire U.S. The UNTHSC and Tarrant County Community College also serve very diverse student populations. SB4 could have a negative impact on enrollment at these institutions, and it create harmful consequences for students who do enroll. If enrollment decreases, that could lead to a negative effect on tuition rates.
- Diverse students – not just Latinos – will avoid enrolling at schools in a state that openly accepts a bigoted law. They’ll head to more progressive universities on the East and West coasts. It would be interesting to see what happens with local enrollment numbers this fall.
- SB4 applies to campus police and therefore could put both students and campus police at risk. The enforcement of immigration law is highly complex, it’s typically not an area of specialization for campus police. But if they don’t question the immigration status of students they detain on campus (for example, for committing a traffic violation or jay walking), then those law enforcement professional could face misdemeanor charges (punishable by jail time and/or a fine).
- Also, it can take up to 18 months for refugees who are in the U.S. legally to obtain proper documentation of their residency. Often, refugees enroll in colleges and universities while they are waiting on their documentation. If they are questioned by campus police and don’t yet have their proof of residency, they can be detained until proof of residency is established. This will cause them to miss vital class/instruction time and is a violation of their rights.
- Students who are undocumented and trying to complete a degree may either not enroll to avoid unnecessary risk. Or, they may skip class if they arrive on campus and see campus police nearby. Or, they may develop anxiety and depression as a result of the trauma from prospective deportation, which hinders their ability to be academically successful
- Interview Opportunity: An instructor from UTA can speak about the personal stories of 3 students who exemplify the potential negative impact of SB4.
- Last spring as the negative climate towards immigration began escalating, local principles reported that parents of children in the immigrant community were not bringing their children to school. With SB4 now actually in effect, the potential for parents to keep children home out of fear is even greater.
- Additionally, teachers have reported that students they serve were demonstrating signs of trauma and anxiety in the classroom over fear of their parents’ deportation. This hinders their ability to learn and be successful in school.
- Interview Opportunity: An education administrator with more than 18 years experience in Fort Worth ISD who specialized in programs serving children from the minority population can speak about how parents and children will be impacted by SB4 and how it will effect their experience in public school. Additionally, a teacher can discuss personal experiences with children in the classroom who were demonstrating anxiety about potential deportation.
PROTECTING THE JOINT RESERVE BASE
- Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price recently pledged to protect the Joint Reserve Base from BRAC closure since it contributes jobs and economic impact for the region. Many military personnel are green card holders but not naturalized citizens. SB4 puts those individuals who have served the U.S. and are stationed at the JRB at increased risk of deportation, harming jobs and the economy.
- Interview Opportunity: A female Marine veteran who is a former drill instructor, served in Afghanistan and is married to someone currently stationed at the JRB can speak about the impact of SB4 on non-naturalized military members.