A Chinese-American legislator recently gave a tearful speech in a bid to oppose a bill that bans “sanctuary city” policies.
Texas Representative Gene Wu, a Democrat, delivered the impassioned remark during a debate about Senate Bill 4 at the state House of Representatives last Wednesday.
In tears, Wu explained why he feels that the issue affects him and the state he represents:
“This topic is painful for me because I am an immigrant. My parents are immigrants. I represent a district filled with immigrants,” Wu said. “Some are here as refugees, some are here as citizens, some are here without papers. But they are all my people.”
The bill would allow police to ask the immigration status of anyone stopped or detained, as law enforcement officers from the “sanctuary cities” are now obliged to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. It was approved by the House the next day.
In his short but emotional speech, Rep. Gene Wu compared the bill to other policies in American history that targeted immigrants.
He mentioned how the fear-inspired Chinese Exclusion Act singled out Chinese and Chinese Americans to be excluded from America along with a 10-year moratorium on Chinese labor immigration. He also cited the imprisonment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
“Those are also laws that were created out of fear, would you not agree? Those are laws created out of hatred and misunderstanding,” he said.
Following the passage of the bill by a vote of 94-53, the representative of District 137 released a statement further arguing that the legislation targets, not just criminals, but also children, victims of crimes and those who have served in the armed forces.
Wu also noted that the bill would be a reminder to his sons “that the law will treat them with suspicion.”
“Democrats were united in their opposition to the legislation because this felt like an attack on the diverse communities that we represent and that make Texas great,” Wu wrote in the press release. “At the end of the day, all we asked for was mercy for our communities; mercy for our families; and mercy for our children. But no mercy was given.”
Rep. Gene Wu, who was elected in 2012, served as a prosecutor in the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. As a legislator, he has so far authored a number of laws that benefit his constituents, including, reforming the criminal justice system, decriminalizing truancy, enhancing Pre-K standards, strengthening protections for victims of human trafficking, and improving college readiness.
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