While most Texans slept early Sunday morning, dozens of opponents of the state’s new “sanctuary cities” law, including undocumented immigrants, protested loudly outside the governor’s mansion.
At 3 a.m. Sunday, around 50 protesters met in front of the downtown Austin mansion for a musically themed protest of Senate Bill 4. The crowd blared mariachi music through a megaphone for about an hour, holding signs that read “no bedtime for bigots,” “goodnight SB 4” and “you’ve disturbed our peace, so we’re disturbing yours.”
It isn’t clear whether Governor Greg Abbott was at the residence. He doesn’t always stay in the mansion, which sits across from the Capitol and is provided for the state’s top official.
Event organizer Jen Ramos, vice president of the Austin Young Democrats, said that she considered moving the protest to Abbott’s private home, elsewhere in Austin, but decided against it. Shouting mariachi songs in a residential neighborhood was more likely to attract cops than doing so in a public place, she said, and because some of the protesters are undocumented, that wasn’t a risk Ramos was willing to take.
The law, which goes into effect Sept. 1, will allow police to ask people who’ve been detained — not just arrested — to prove citizenship, and also threatens to jail law enforcement officials who limit cooperation with federal immigration agents. Opponents have already begun filing lawsuits against the law in the hopes of blocking its implementation.
The mariachi protest came a day before hundreds are expected to flood the Capitol on Monday to protest the law, which critics say is discriminatory to immigrants and will erode trust between law enforcement and the communities they police.