‘Show me your papers’ law has Texas small business owners worried

Owner of Mr. Brincolin party store (KXAN Photo)
Owner of Mr. Brincolin party store (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Wednesday, the final draft of Senate Bill 4, known as Texas’ “Show me your papers” law, passed the Senate, and is now headed to the governor’s desk.

Republicans across Texas are rejoicing saying they believe it will help keep communities safe, but some Austin small business owners are feeling the impact of fear from the immigrant community.

“One day we said, wow, we have to close, what are we going to do because people are scared to go out and now with the new law, we’re worried,” Juan Antonio Cano-Trujillo, owner of Mr. Brincolin party store says. He started noticing a lack of usual business after reports of ICE in Austin months ago.

“Really, our clients are 99 percent Hispanic and Mexican, and with the law passing, I don’t know what will happen, I think of closing because there would be no business, everyone is scared,” Cano-Trujillo says.

He accomplished his “American Dream” seven years ago when he opened his small business on Rundberg Lane, now he’s afraid for what will happen.

He says his clients now will only order piñatas, they won’t hire DJs, bounce houses or anything that would cause a noise complaint.

“They tell me, what if I have a party and our neighbors call the police and they get here and ask everyone for documents? It’s terrible,” Cano-Trujillo says

At the city level, council members say they’re discussing legal options to put a stop to SB4.

“People will probably boycott coming to Texas and boycott coming to Austin,” Delia Garza, Austin City Council member from District 2 says. She thinks it would hurt the city financially.

“If people aren’t coming and staying in our hotels and buying things and being part of our tourism industry, that’s going to affect the revenue that Austin can take to meet all the needs in our city,” Garza says.

For now, Cano-Trujillo says he thinks of his children, and prays to God things will change. “I never imagined this would happen in Texas, it’s something that is going to divide us completely,” Cano-Trujillo said.

In 2010 the city of Austin passed a resolution to limit its employees travel to Arizona after that state passed a similar law to SB4.

Council members then were fearful if city employees traveled to that state, they would be targeted and harassed.

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