Constitution Day celebrates the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787. This year, the University of North Texas is looking at the constitutionality of a new Texas law, Senate Bill 4 (SB 4,) that goes into effect on September 1, 2017.
SB 4 allows law enforcement to question legally detained or arrested persons about their immigration status, and it punishes those persons and government officials who do not cooperate with federal authorities. Those opposed to "sanctuary cities" argue that such laws like SB4 are needed to crack down on illegal immigration and to help make the streets safer. They also argue that such laws are not pre-empted by the federal government's powers to regulate immigration under the U.S. Constitution. Critics of SB4 argue that it unfairly targets minorities for racial profiling, violates equal protection, and interferes with freedom of speech. Of particular concern has been that SB4 allows for punishment of department head and elected officials who do not cooperate by reporting undocumented persons to local authorities. Local governments argue that the law compels them to provide information they might not otherwise provide and that it interferes with their ability to speak out about immigration issues because they can be removed from office.
A discussion of this issue Perspectives on the Constitution: Sanctuary Cities, will be held Thursday, Sept. 14-11am-12:30 pm at the University of North Texas-Denton campus in the Lyceum (in the Student Union). The discussion will feature Texas House Representative Ramon Romero, who argued vigorously against SB4, and Texas House Representative Lynn Stucky, who is a strong supporter of the new law.
This event will be live-streamed in Willis Library, Room 250H simultaneously. Students will be able to ask the speakers questions via Twitter using hashtags #UNT #ConstitutionDay.
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