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El Pasoans march to celebrate block of SB4

Hundreds of protesters marched from the Armijo El Paso Public Library to San Jacinto Plaza to celebrate the halt of Senate Bill 4 on Friday afternoon, Sept. 1.

The celebration comes as U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia placed a preliminary injunction against the bill that threatened to withhold state funding from so-called sanctuary cities.

“This is part of a larger campaign against racism, against xenophobia, but specifically against SB4, which today we are celebrating the injunction provided by the court,” said Fernando Garcia, the director of the Border Network for Human Rights, the organization that put the march together.

The march was also a protest against recent reports that the Trump administration would end the DACA program that protects undocumented children who were brought to the US before they were 16.

Claudia Yoli, a UTEP communications major and staff member for state Senator Jose Rodriguez, would be one of those affected by Trump’s policy.

“I am here because I am a Dreamer, I am an unafraid Dreamer who is ready to share her story in defense of the DACA program,” Yoli said.”UTEP has historically always been a community, a campus that has welcomed immigrants, so I call out to (UTEP president) Natalicio and other faculty and staff and to surrounding campuses to continue protecting immigrants. We have about 400 DACA students at UTEP, and they’re probably there in the classrooms as we speak.”

Paola Rodriguez, a recent high school graduate, is a Dreamer who wants to become a cosmetologist. She said that without the program she would not be able to pursue her career.

“I came here to the United States when I was 5 years old, and ever since then me and my family have been fighting for what we believe is right,” Rodriguez said. “Students, we want to just walk around, go to the parks, but we wouldn’t feel safe doing so knowing that police are going to be asking for our papers just because we look Mexican or Hispanic.”

UTEP officials said that despite not being able to declare the school a sanctuary campus they will still provide support for all students.

“UTEP will continue to adhere to all state and federal laws. Texas institutions, by law, cannot declare themselves to be sanctuary campuses. Our students should know that we are committed to providing them with quality education, regardless of their backgrounds or life situations. If any student has a concern relating to SB4, they can contact the Dean of Students office at 915-747-5648 or at [email protected].”

Garcia said this victory (the injunction against SB4) is a message of hope and resistance against discriminatory laws.

“For now, today, El Paso and the rest of Texas will not have these local police departments enforcing immigration laws and doing abusive and racist practices,” Garcia said.

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El Pasoans march to celebrate block of SB4