#DependenceDay: Immigrant Rights Activists Disrupt Austin Independence Day Parade

The action comes in response to the SB4 “show me your papers” law, as well as last week’s letter calling for the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program.

Dozens of immigrant activists and supporters disrupted the Austin Independence Day Parade to highlight that the state of Texas depends on immigrants. This July 4th, while many families are celebrating with fireworks and barbeques, many immigrant families will be staying home due to the racist and anti-immigrant policies that have created widespread fear in our communities.

The SB4 “show me your papers” law will turn local police into federal immigration enforcement. Once the law goes into effect on September 1st, we can expect an increase in racial profiling, deportations, and the separation of families. Immigrant communities in Texas know what it means to live in fear of driving without a license, interacting with law enforcement or encountering border patrol. SB4 is the final straw. The Cosecha Movement is launching a campaign to resist SB4 through economic noncooperation and draw national attention to the attacks immigrant communities in Texas are facing.

“Texas is my home and while some might want us to leave this state, or stay locked in our homes because we are too afraid to leave the house, I am going to stay and fight back,” said Berzabeth Valdez, a spokesperson for Movimiento Cosecha. “We work in Texas’ factories and stores, in its fields and restaurants; our hands provide food to its tables, build its homes, and sustain this state’s economy. I am going to fight for my home, and for this state to recognize that immigrants deserve dignity and respect.”

The Parade is sponsored by H-E-B, a Texas supermarket chain with a large immigrant consumer base.   Organizers plan to launch a boycott of H-E-B during the month of August to demonstrate that the state of Texas depends on immigrants.

“Six years ago, when Texas lawmakers considered a similar anti-immigrant bill, H-E-B lobbied against the legislation. However, this time around H-E-B was silent on the SB4 “show me your papers” law. Why the change? The earlier version of the bill included penalties for companies that hire undocumented workers, while SB4 only targets immigrant workers and families. H-E-B executives only care about immigrants when it affects their bottom line; they only want us for our labor and consumption,” explains Maria Fernanda Cabello, a spokesperson with Movimiento Cosecha.