Chicago: The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has taken the unusual step of issuing a travel advisory to American citizens and residents as well as visitors against travelling to the southern state of Texas.Texas is one of the states which has a large and growing number of Indian Americans, along with other states like New York, New Jersey, California and Illinois.

The ACLU "travel alert" follows the passage of Senate Bill 4 (SB4), the so-called "sanctuary cities" bill, into law. Texas Governor Greg Abbot signed the bill into law in a Facebook Live event earlier this week. ACLU officials stressed that the likely victims of the law, which takes effect on September 1, could be people of color, and those who appear 'foreign,' even if they are legal immigrants.

"The law gives a green light to police officers in the state to investigate a person's immigration status during a routine traffic stop, leading to widespread racial profiling, baseless scrutiny, and illegal arrests of citizens and non-citizens alike presumed to be "foreign" based on how they look or sound," the ACLU said in a statement.

Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas, said the organization plans to "fight this racist and wrongheaded law in the courts and in the streets."

"Until we defeat it, everyone traveling in or to Texas needs to be aware of what's in store for them," Burke said, "The Lone Star State will become a 'show me your papers' state, where every interaction with law enforcement can become a citizenship interrogation and potentially an illegal arrest."

Since Texas, the second largest American state in geographical area, shares over 1200 miles of a common border with Mexico, it has also had a large number of undocumented immigrants sneaking in.

Over 16 percent of the Texas's residents are foreign-born, and with an estimated 1.2 million undocumented residents, Texas' undocumented population is second only to California in size, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

(Ashok Easwaran can be contacted at ashok3185@yahoo.com)

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