El Cenizo Mayor Continues To Push Other Cities To Fight Senate Bill 4

EL CENIZO, Texas - Over one-hundred miles west of the Rio Grande Valley is the small municipality of El Cenizo.

It is here where the first legal battle against Senate Bill 4 began.

The bill will would allow local law enforcement officers to question a person's immigration status after being detained.

After the bill became a law in May, El Cenizo's mayor, Raul Reyes, decided to file a lawsuit against the bill immediately.

"All along I've been saying this bill is reckless, dangerous, and discriminatory," said Reyes. "I think it's very important that we step up, rise up, and do everything we can to defend human rights and civil rights," he added.

El Cenizo can lose up to $800,000 in state grants in the next to years, if they fail to comply with the new law.

For Mayor Reyes, it makes no difference.

"When it comes to actually providing the tools and resources and monetary support to border towns like El Cenizo, they fall short," said Reyes. "El Cenizo has never been dependent on state or federal funding. We really depend on people who pay their property taxes and contribute to the local economic activity," he added. 

For Mayor Reyes, the fight against senate bill four is not going to be an easy one, but he's not going to back down, no matter what the consequences are for he and his community.

 

"If this bill comes into effect September 1st, and I continue my stance and I continue to speak out against it, I know I can fined up to $25,000 dollars," said Reyes. "I can be criminally penalized, removed from office, and put in jail. I'm willing to do that, because I know I'm on the right side of history, and because someone needs to stand up for those who have no voice and live in fear," he added. 

Some residents, like Juana Hernandez, say they feel protected to some extent by their mayor, but they're also concerned about what will happen once they go to a different town.

 

"It's good the mayor is fighting the bill and that he's protecting our town, but what's going to happen to us when we travel outside of our town," said Hernandez

Mayor Reyes adds he's ready to take this case all the way to the supreme court.

Between now and September 1st, he'll continue to host town hall meetings to educate residents who aren't familiar with the bill. 


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