La Unión Del Pueblo (LUPE) took center stage at the Texas Capitol on Tuesday, May 9 by calling out Starr County Representative Ryan Guillen and his plan to move forward with HB7 and HB20. Members of LUPE alongside the Never Again Again Coalition, Grassroots Leadership, Frontera Fund, and other community organizations held an action in the rotunda of the Capitol by rolling out a banner that says “End family separations, vote no on HB7 and HB20.”
LUPE, Allies, and Border Residents reached the state capitol as they chant and call out Starr County Representative Ryan Guillen who for the SECOND time ignored the pleas and cries of those he is supposed to represent.
At his Starr County office on May 2, a group attempted to deliver a letter for Rep. Guillen but the office staff did not open the door to receive the letter asking the representative to meet with his constituents to discuss the border bills. The letter was ultimately slipped under the door, but LUPE did not receive a response from Guillen’s office.
At Rep. Guillen's Austin office on May 9, border residents drove more than 10 hours to voice their opposition to these dangerous border bills, only to be ignored by his staff yet again. LUPE members were initially locked out from entering the representative's office. After hours of waiting, Rep. Guillen's staff eventually allowed inside LUPE members, who then waited nearly 3 hours in hopes of speaking to Rep. Guillen face-to-face. Unfortunately, his staff kicked out border residents after waiting for hours with no explanation on the representative's votes on these bills.
Emma Alaniz, LUPE member and South Texan resident joined LUPE to voice her concerns over the militarization on HB7 & HB20 as she has a family of her own who will be affected.
LUPE members sitting inside Rep. Ryan Guillen's office and demanding to speak to the representative.
In the video below, Evon Bueno, Civic Engagement Organizer from LUPE Votes, explains why she participated in these actions on Mother's Day Week.
In response to HB7 advancing to the Senate, LUPE released the following statement:
“For months, LUPE members and border residents have advocated relentlessly against HB7 and HB20 due to the threat these policies pose to immigrant families who live in the Rio Grande Valley and those who are seeking safety at our border. We strongly condemn the passage of this House bill that treats the border as a war zone and invests in militarization, policing, and surveillance of immigrant families.
We are particularly dismayed at Rep. Ryan Guillen’s failure to meet with his constituents throughout this process. LUPE members attempted to meet with the representative twice— once in Rio Grande City and once in Austin— only to be locked out and ignored by his office. Instead of giving LUPE members a dignified response for having traveled more than 10 hours to meet with him, Rep. Guillen waited to advance HB7 in the middle of the night, effectively squashing his constituents rights to have their voices heard.” For the full statement, click here.
As we now continue to advocate against HB7 and its adoption of a “Border Protection Unit,” we will continue to fight this battle, but we cannot do it alone. With your help, we can still make sure this bill does not pass in the Senate and become law.
For more updates, check out our updates on Facebook , Instagram, and YouTube as we recap what happened at the capitol, our experience dealing with these bills, Starr County Rep. Ryan Guillen, and what we can do to stop these bills together. ¡Si se puede!