The Understanding of Texas Senate Bill 4 by Local Law

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The Understanding of Texas Senate Bill 4 by Local Law


In May 7, 2017 Texas Senate Bill also known as ‘anti-sanctuary city’ was passed in both houses of Texas legislature. The Bill which was later signed by Governor Greg Abbott requires local law enforcement officers to comply with U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement. The provisions in this legislature require local law enforcement officers to comply with the requests of Immigration Control Enforcement (ICE) agencies of transferring local criminals or suspects of crime to ICE custody. Secondly, the law forces local governments to allow their enforcement officers to inquire about immigration status of any person under police custody in addition to helping ICE agencies in enforcing immigration laws. Based on the mandate the law bestows on local law enforcement officers, it is paramount to carry out a research aimed at understanding SB 4 by local law enforcement officers thus the need for this study. The objectives of this study include: studying the origins of Texas SB 4; investigating the economic and social effects of the law in the State of Texas; analyzing the expected future implications of the law to the state and the country at large; studying the reactions of civil rights’ organization to SB 4 law in the State of Texas; and establishing the role of local law enforcement in ensuring mutual relationship between immigrants and local law enforcement agencies while enforcing Texas SB 4. To achieve these objectives, this research will conduct interviews on 360 respondents representing different categories such as local law enforcement officers, federal immigrant enforcement officers, undocumented immigrants, Texas elected and appointed officials and civil rights groups. The findings of the study will be fundamental to future studies on related topics.




Background to the Study

Texas Senate Bill 4 (SB 4) also known as “anti-sanctuary city” legislation was passed in both houses of the Texas legislature and signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott in May 2017. This law which requires law enforcement agencies to comply with USA Customs and Immigration Enforcement detainers was to take effect on 1st September 2017. However, a federal judge blocked portions of Senate Bill 4 on 31st August a day before taking effect. The portions of the Bill blocked by the federal judge include: a portion requiring local law enforcement department to hold undocumented immigrants in custody and a provision in the Bill stopping law enforcement department from implementing policies preventing the enforcement of immigration laws. Strikingly enough, the federal judge declined to block the portion of the Bill allowing police officers to inquire about individual’s immigration status.

The enactment of this Bill changed the relationship between local law enforcement and Immigration Control Enforcement (ICE) agency in the state of Texas in two major ways. First, the local law enforcement officers (police) are required to comply with the ICE requests of transferring local prisoners to ICE custody. Secondly, local governments were forced to allowing their police officers to: inquire about legal and immigration status of any person under police custody, help immigration control enforcement agency to enforce immigration law and allow ICE to enter local prisons. According to SB 4, any local government preventing the police from discharging these three duties, such government is liable to a fine of $25,000 per day in addition to the leader of the government risking removal from office.

It is worthwhile noting that the jurisdiction of SB 4 excludes hospitals and other public health institutions, churches, community centers for people with mental health problems and schools. This implies that people working in these institutions as well as off-duty police are not permitted by the law to execute the above three duties of police officers. Therefore, it is within the sole discretion of local governments to prohibit their off-duty police officers from enforcing immigration laws in these institutions. However, the law permits police officers to inquire legal and immigration status of witnesses or victims of a crime should it be required by the investigation team.

The enactment of SB 4 in both houses of Texas legislature and subsequent signing by the Governor outlines penalties for sheriffs, police chiefs, constables as well as other local leaders who fail to cooperate with federal immigration authorities or those that prevent police officers from inquiring about individual’s legal and immigration status. This law has raised a lot of concerns amongst critics such as immigrants’ rights activists who hold that the law will result in racial profiling and discrimination. On the other hand, local law enforcement officers are worried of a situation whereby the law might force them to prioritize immigration violations over other more serious crimes such as manslaughter in the state.  The critics of Texas SB 4 argue that the law is not only unjust to undocumented immigrants but also oppressive to Latinos (majority of American immigrants) who are true and legal resident of United States. This has been the main driving force for civil rights groups who have come together to condemn the passing and signing of this Bill into law. According to civil rights groups, SB 4 is a controversial law leading to racial profiling and discrimination as well as promoting ethnic divisions. These civil rights groups have taken attempts in legal battles to challenge the legality and constitutionality of the Bill in federal court that led to the blocking of parts of the bill a day before taking full effects. The civil rights groups have also taken upon themselves the responsibilities of informing and educating the Latinos of their civil rights.

The impacts of SB 4 on national development

Just like after passing the Arizona SB 1070 law, the passing of Texas SB 4 law will facilitate the passing of such laws by other state legislatures. However, there are similar bills already pending in different state legislatures such as North Carolina, Florida and Louisiana. There exists a striking parallel in these bills as they adopt an approach similar to that of SB4 of imposing harsh punishment on local law enforcement officers as well as other government agencies that don’t comply with federal Customs and Immigration Enforcement detainers. For instance, first time offender would face a penalty of $1,000 while subsequent offenders are liable to pay a fine of up to $25,000. Members of the public were also liable to these penalties as well. The law further imposes harsh penalties on law enforcement officers and other government agencies preventing local law enforcement agencies from enacting policies guiding law enforcement resources to the most serious threat as well as identifying undocumented immigrants within the state.  The law stipulates that immediately after immigrant detention, the local police officers are permitted to inquire the immigration status of the suspect. The issue of undocumented immigrants is of great concern amongst immigrants as it causes suspicion whereby some are not confident enough to report the victims to relevant law enforcement officials due to fear of being detained in the process. The main cause of undocumented immigrants in the vast majority of states in the U.S. is as a result of broken families in their countries of origin. Unfortunately, with such legislations such as SB 4, immigrants are facing more troubles and agony in foreign land in U.S. states.

From economic perspective, the passing and signing of SB 4 is expected to drastically reduce the number of businesses and organizations operating in Texas State as well as reducing the number of tourists visiting the state and the amount of money they will spend. Such phenomenon was witnessed immediately after passing the Arizona SB 1070 laws whereby organizations, business and tourists were deterred from visiting the country after the passing of SB 1070 law that was termed as “show-me-your-paper” law. As such, SB 4 could potentially depress and suppress the buying power of more than 4.7 million immigrants currently living in Texas. The buying power of Texas immigrants is extremely high, for instance, the combined buying power of Asian and Latino immigrants in Texas in 2004 was estimated at approximately $297 billion. The bill further intends to remove a vast majority of undocumented immigrants responsible for about $70 billion in economic activity and $30.8 billion in gross state product. Based on statistics from state and local tax collections for 2013, tax collection from Latino immigrants was over 50% ($4.6 billion) of the total federal collections ($8.4 billion). There are more than 403,000 immigrant workforce working in different sectors of economy such as agriculture, retail, construction, hospitality as well as healthcare in Texas. However, the enactment and signing of SB 4 is indeed a threat to this developing workforce and the state’s economic vibrancy. This is because immigrants will perceive Texas State as hostile to their stay and as a result prefer staying in those states that are more welcoming to them. Therefore, without adequate understanding of this law by local law enforcement, great financial implications on the state’s economic development is foreseen.  In this light, there is need for local enforcement to gain a better understanding of Texas SB 4 in order to save the economy of the state as a result of poor understanding/misunderstanding of the Bill thus creating hostile environment for both documented and undocumented immigrants living in the states, thus the need for this study. The findings of this study will lay a foundation in understanding and interpretation of Texas SB 4 by local law enforcement officials thus preserving the civil rights of immigrants.

Problem Statement

Texas SB 4 has adverse effects on local law enforcement. For instance, SB 4 is expected to make it extremely difficult for law enforcement to ensure safety for every member of the community. This is due to the fact that any relationship between local law enforcement and immigrant will result into tension and fear. Although the law provides for protection of witnesses and victims of crime, there is heightened concern amongst local law enforcement who are afraid of calling police officer due to fear of being targeted for violating immigrants’ rights. The Bill further reduces the authority of local law enforcement such as sheriffs and police chiefs in leading their respective departments in a manner that will enhance the safety of the entire community. This is as a result of the provision of the Bill that makes racial profiling and discrimination more likely as the law deters local law enforcement agencies that are against racial profiling which makes members of the community feel hurt and having a limited trust towards all law enforcement officers. These challenges of Texas SB 4 are compounded by the fact that federal immigration enforcement officers collaborate with local law enforcement leaders who have limited specialized training required in their mandate. The current state of affair could only be addressed through proper understanding of Texas SB 4 bill by local law enforcement. This understanding will result in efficient and effective functioning of local law enforcement officers thus addressing the current challenges encountered by local law enforcement while discharging their daily duties and responsibilities. The findings of this study will help in enhancing the understanding of Texas SB 4 thus bridging the current situation of fear amongst members of the community and the expected mutual relationship between immigrants and local law enforcement.

Research Questions/Hypothesis

The current research will address the following research question:

  • i). What are the origins of Texas SB 4?
  • ii). What are the economic and social effects of the law in the State of Texas?
  • iii). What are the expected future implications of the law to the state and the country at large?
  • iv). What has been the reaction of civil rights’ organization to SB 4 law in the State of Texas?
  • v). What is the role of local law enforcement in ensuring mutual relationship between immigrants and local law enforcement agencies while enforcing Texas SB 4?

Objectives and Aims

Overall Objective

To understand the Texas Senate Bill 4 by local law enforcement officers

Specific Objectives

The specific objectives of this research are to:

  • i). Study the origins of Texas SB 4;
  • ii). Investigate the economic and social effects of the law in the State of Texas;
  • iii). Analyze the expected future implications of the law to the state and the country at large;
  • iv). Study and critically investigate the reactions of civil rights’ organization to SB 4 law in the State of Texas; and
  • v). Establish the role of local law enforcement in ensuring mutual relationship between immigrants and local law enforcement agencies while enforcing Texas SB 4.



The process of passing SB 4 was progressive that resulted from failure of immigration system of the federal government. Therefore, it is important to investigate the background of the federal responses to undocumented immigrants in the United States.

Historical Background of the U.S. Immigration policy

It is important to note that the issue of undocumented immigrants is old and can be traced back to the time of marking territorial boundaries between Mexico and the U.S. Since then, there has been continued movement of people and goods across the border of these countries. However, the current situation of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. mainly from Mexico can be attributed to the immigration system of America. From historical perspective, a transformation was witnessed in 1965 as a result of passing of the Immigration Nationality Act by the Congress. The Act resulted in drastic reduction of temporary work visa as well as the establishment of the current incentive for undocumented immigrants into the U.S. These events resulted into millions of people crossing into the U.S. territory without legal permission to cater for the demand of cheap labour in the economy of the U.S.  This was boosted by the Bracero Program that aimed at sustaining the economy of the United States during the Second World War (WWII) by giving people from Mexico temporary visas. This program was terminated in 1965.

The termination of the Bracero Program was followed by the passing of the Immigration Nationality Act in 1965 by the Congress. The Act brought some reformation into visa process by eliminating race-based discrimination in the distribution of visas. The Act gave priority to individuals whose families had already settled in America. Because of this, it was easier to acquire a visa if an applicant was sponsored by a member already living in the U.S. This greatly promoted family reunion and positive development. The provisions in the Act allowed employers to hire foreigners without visas. This encouraged those Mexicans who benefited from Bracero Program to cross to America without visas because of job availability with higher wages. This led to increased number of undocumented immigrants which was a benefit to job seekers from Mexico and business community that required cheap immigrant labour (Rosenblum & Brick, 2011). This witnessed over 28 million immigrants from Mexico entering the U.S.

To deal with this escalating immigration crisis, there was a false impression form politicians that the U.S./Mexico border was out of control. This situation necessitated the Congress to enact the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986. The intent of this law was to increase border security thus making it extremely difficult and illegal for any employer to employ undocumented immigrants. The law further gave opportunity to those immigrants who came to America before 1982 to earn American citizenship. Under this provision, about 2.3 Mexicans became legal citizen. IRCA led to increased apprehension rates. For instance, in 1990, the apprehension rate for Southwest border increased by 26% causing great concern for the Congress. To respond to increased apprehension rates at the border, the Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1990 that provided for increased monetary allocation for border security (Massey, Durand & Malone, 2002). This Act increased the number of work visas thus increased rate of undocumented immigrants.

Due to the failure of IRCA to eliminate undocumented immigration, there is suspicion of immigration reform aimed at promoting a system of legalization amongst American citizens. This has been the main argument for critics and immigration advocates who claim that amnesty cannot work since it failed under IRCA. As a result, there is heightened debate on what to do with undocumented immigrant already living in the country thus hindering the development of a practical and working strategy to address the ineffective immigration system. Frustrations resulting from the federal government’s failure to respond to undocumented immigrants have led some states to enact new immigration policies. Some of the states that have passed new immigration policies include Arizona, Alabama etc. while such similar bills are pending in different state legislatures such as North Carolina, Florida and Louisiana. Texas is the latest to enact new immigration policies with the enactment of SB 4 by the state’s legislature in May 2017. The law was to take effect on 1st September but there was court order stopping the law from taking effect.

SB 4 is expected to set precedent in matters relating to immigration policies. However, the current controversy over the ability of individual states to enact and enforce their own separate immigration policies endangers efforts of dealing with immigration issue in the United States. This controversy was accelerated by the 1889 Supreme Court case between Chae Chan Ping vs. United States whereby the apex court established that it within the sole responsibility of the federal government to enact and pass national immigration policies. The court ruled that the federal government is invested with powers over all the foreign matters of the country such as immigration matters a mandate that cannot be taken by state government. However, the passing of Arizona SB 1070 forced the Supreme Court to reinterpret the role of the federal and state government with regard to immigration policy. In their defenses, the federal government said laws such as SB 1070 are unconstitutional as they take the role that can only be executed by the federal government. Arizona on the other hand argued that SB 1070 was a tool to help the federal government to perform its neglected duties. Although it is not clear if the federal government will contest the legality and constitutionality of SB 4 in Supreme Court, the subject is beyond the scope of this work!

Theoretical Explanation for Texas SB 4

The passing and signing of Texas Senate Bill 4 was as a result of largest number of undocumented immigrants in Texas. The passing of the bill came after months that witnessed house and senate warfare, exhausting public testimonies, and engagement of the public in protests. The bill was signed by Governor Grey Abbott on May 7, 2007. The law also known as “anti-sanctuary city law” was criticised as “show me your papers law” by civil rights groups.  The bill will enforce federal immigration enforcement officers to comply with local law enforcement officers. According to this law, local law enforcement officers can act as stand-in federal enforcement officers thus making Texas to be the first State to ban sanctuary city under the administration of President Donald Trump. Prior to this Bill, Trump signed an executive order that gave additional discretion to immigration agents. The order required these agents to arrest undocumented immigrant. In the order, the President threatened to withdraw funding from any state deemed as ‘sanctuary city’.

Although local law enforcement officers in Texas already comply with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as well as U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE), the enactment of SB 4 was in response to Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez comments of complying with ICE on minimum level. The comments of the Sheriff can be interpreted to mean that Travis County enforcement office can only call ICE for serious offenses such as manslaughter, human trafficking etc. but not for minor offenses. This provided an opportunity that Governor Abbott seized to make anti-sanctuary city bill one of his top legislative priority. The move by the Governor was also triggered by public safety concerns more particular a case involving an immigrant who had been arrested severally in Texas and deported to his country three times. For instance, in September 2016, the same immigrant was involved in a deadly crime spree in Texas whereby two people were killed and scores kidnapped. Although there is no legal definition of the term sanctuary city, its originality can be traced back in 1980s during protests in reaction to federal immigration policies that denied some immigrants asylum. This resulted in passing laws forbidding city police from assisting federal enforcement officers. In response, a Catholic Priest in Los Angeles declared his church as a sanctuary for poor, homeless and undocumented immigrants. To this date, neither the U.S. Department of justice nor the SB 4 law have defined this term.

Although the law initially targeted those who had committed crimes in the state, its scope later deviated to become punitive to undocumented immigrants. The primary function of the Bill was to enforce federal immigration law compliance on local law enforcement agencies. The law exempted law enforcement in hospitals, churches and public healthcare departments. There were series of unsuccessful proposed amendments aimed at reducing the impact of this law on certain populations. The anti-discrimination clause in the law states that, “a local entity, campus police department …… may not consider religion, colour, race, nationality or language while enforcing immigration law except to the extent provided by the U.S. constitution or that of Texas state.” This clause is vague as it leaves much room for possible targeted discrimination towards undocumented immigrants. Also, there is a portion in the law that was introduced through an amendment in the floor of the House that allowed local law enforcement officers to inquire the immigration status of any person under detention. This amendment is far beyond the Bill’s initial intent of criminal undocumented immigrants. This has been the reason why Texas, like Arizona has been profiled as ‘show me your paper’ city by critics to this law.

Hardline critics and opponents to this law have expressed concerns that SB 4 will result in terrorization of immigrant communities in Texas. They further argue that the enforcement of this law will see only fewer criminal activities being reported as individuals from immigrant communities will be afraid of being deported. In their view, they argue that this law will hurt the most vulnerable such as human traffic victims, sexual assault victims, immigration families and school going children. According to critics, if an undocumented immigrant is sexually assaulted, there is higher likelihood that such as victim will not call for law enforcement due to fear of being detained in the process. This implies that perpetuators of such crimes will go escort free thus continuing to harm others. In the process, the Bill will succeed in accomplishing exactly the opposite of its expressed intention of making communities safer. There is anticipated anxiety and depression amongst children born to undocumented parents while undocumented college students feeling unsafe to attend classes out of fear. This will dramatically influence the state’s education standards and workforce as well as the state’s labour market.

The proponents to Texas SB 4 on the other hand have stated that the law has encouraged and fostered security for all residents of Texas State including undocumented immigrant communities. In their view, the law encourages cooperation between local law enforcement and federal enforcement in working together towards eliminating dangerous criminal from the state’s streets as the law applies uniform standards to the state. It is important for federal immigration enforcement and local law enforcement to work together in dealing with transnational crimes such as human trafficking and smuggling associated with undocumented immigrants. In such cases, local law enforcement officers should immediately contact federal immigration officials in order to prevent undocumented immigrants from re-entering community where they will engage in more criminal activities thus endangering the security of Texas citizens. Also, this cooperation is paramount for ICE in accomplishing their constitutional mandate. Currently, there are approximately 20,000 ICE officials out of which 6,000 are directly involved in enforcing immigration laws. With these statistics, it is evident that the number of undocumented immigrants is very large compared to the number of ICE. Thus provisions in SB 4 allowing local law enforcement officer to act as stand-in federal immigration officers thus ensuring that the state is safe and secure from criminal activities associated with undocumented immigrants.

According to SB 4, any undocumented immigrant suspected to be a criminal should be held in federal custody for a period not exceeding one week as the state pending approval from ICE. Additionally, the law has created a grant program to provide financial support to help cities and counties in Texas to offset costs related to immigration laws as well as costs incurred while complying with federal requests of maintaining a victim of immigration violation in custody.

Similar studies and findings from the topic

Currently, there are not documented research findings on Texas Senate Bill 4. However, the only available studies are focussed on the impact of different laws of various states to the economy. Economic implications of any law adversely affect the overall development of the state. In the current study aimed at understanding the Texas SB 4 by local law enforcement officers will attempt to review the various implications of some of these laws that have been enacted and passed in different states in America. This is important in understanding SB 4 by gaining a clear understanding into any implications that the law might have in future. This will help local law enforcement in understanding this law in terms of future implication on different aspects of the economy.

In a research study to investigate the impacts of Arizona’s SB 1079 on different academic variables of Mexican students, the study sought to investigate the influence of Arizona’s SB 1070 laws of 2010 on schooling experience for Mexican/American students. The study applied Meyer’s Minor Stress Model to study whether perceived discrimination, racial profiling and stress associated with this law influenced in any way the performance of high school students. The study further investigated the effects of the stress associated with SB 1070 on school attachment. The main independent variables in this research were school attachment, perceived discrimination, SB 1070 stress, acculturative stress and grades. The research also used other variable such as skin colour and facial features. The sample population was drawn from high schools students from two schools in Southern Arizona. The findings of this study indicated that perceived racial profiling and discrimination were negatively correlated with the grades of high school students and the impact of SB 1070 stress was highly dependent on the levels of perceived skin colour discrimination. The study did not establish any relationship between the stress associated with the law and school attachment. This was significant in disapproving early hypotheses which had established a moderate relationship between stress associated with the law and school attachment whereby as the stress associated with this law increased, there was reduction in the number of school attachment (Orozco & López, 2015).

In another study entitled, “Arizona’s SB 1070: Targeting the Other and Generating Discourse and Practices of Hate and Discrimination”, the study was based on the ‘other’ in reference to immigrants in general and undocumented Mexican immigrants in particular. This research was facilitated by the enactment of Arizona SB 1070 by Arizona legislature. This legalized the practice of racial profiling and discrimination as a strategy aimed at control migration of immigrant into the state as well as differentiating undocumented immigrants living in the state without authority. The law promoted xenophobia by encouraging anti-immigrant groups to be actively involved in checking such practices. It has been shown historically that whenever the ‘other’ is excluded from the state followed by criminalization, there are high chances of initiating hate towards the ‘other’. In such state of affair, racism, social violence and segregation tend to increase. To achieve the study objective, the research was based on three main questions namely: should people be required to produce their documents in order to verify their immigration status, should police be allowed to detain any individual who fails to verify his/her immigration status and should the police be allowed to question any individual they perceive to be in the country illegally? To the first question as to whether people should produce documents verifying their immigration status, of the total respondents interviewed, 81% supported the provision in SB 1070 making it mandatory for people to produce documents verifying the immigration status. On political affiliations, the research reported mixed responses to this question with 68% of Democrats, 92% of Republican and 79% of independents supporting this provision. Concerning the second question as to whether the police are allowed to detain anyone who fails to verify their immigration status, the provision in SB 1070 received a commanding support. The study reported that 74% of the respondents supporting this provision while results on political affiliation showed wide differences. For instance, this provision received 73% support of Democrats and 93% of Republicans with independents indicating that they did not support such provision with only 50% of independents favouring detention of any individual who fails to verify his/her immigration status. Lastly, concerning the question on the provision of the law allowing the local law enforcement officers to question any person they suspect to be in the country illegally, 68% of the respondent supported the provision. On political affiliation, 48% of Democrats, 87% of Republicans and 67% of independents were in favour of the provision of SB 1070 giving police the mandate to question any person they suspect to be in the country illegally (Arrocha, 2012). These findings form foundations towards understanding Texas SB 4 by local law enforcement as the local police can use these findings based on Arizona SB 1070 into Texas SB 4.

A study to investigate the impact of Arizona SB 1070 on youths was conducted by interviewing over 70 respondents comprising of students, parents and teachers drawn from seven schools in Pima County. The purpose of the research was to study the impact of the law on the youth. The study established two main effects of the law on the youth namely social disruption and institutional mistrust. On social disruption, the study established that many immigrants left the state after the passing of this law resulting into a number of social consequences such as lost friendships. For instance, the study reported an increased number of students who live without their parents immediately after passing this law. The study attributed this phenomenon to the high number of parents who left the State of Arizona as a result of harsh immigration laws leaving their children behind to continue with their studies. This further led to increased number of stress related health problems in schools. On institutional mistrust, the passing and signing of the law enhanced existing mistrust of institutions especially in immigrant community. For instance, many young people became afraid to call local law enforcement officers out of fear that the officers might end up calling federal immigration enforcement officers leading to their deportation. These study findings are of great relevance in understanding Texas SB 4 by local law enforcement officers as this can guide them on how to exercise the duties and responsibilities and provided for Texas SB 4.


Introduction / Overview

Research design is defined as the methods and procedures used by the researcher in collecting data and information. Therefore, research design basically defines the type and sub-type of study to be employed, research hypothesis, experimental design, independent and dependent variables in the research, data collection methods and data analysis procedures. In this study, I will employ qualitative research design in order to gain insights in the understanding of Texas SB 4 by local law enforcement. This is because qualitative research design has been described as flexible research design. This is of particular importance in this study as the variables of interest cannot be measured quantitatively. Since the research will draw participants from different parts of Texas State, I will supplement interviews with questionnaires in order to collect information from a large number of respondents. Questionnaire method will allow those willing to participate in the research but have not time to attend an interview while interviews will allow respondents to give their responses privately without being worried of possible reaction.

To carry out this research effectively, I will require the following: office space and stationery, high speed internet to facilitate interview process through Skype, high speed internet enabled smartphone to record some of the responses in addition to the hard copy that I will be recording manually during interview process, laptop to store my research data and information, data management software to facilitate management of my data, data analysis software to help in the analysis stage, a reliable means of transportation to facilitate face-to-face interviews where applicable.

Population and Study Sample

The sample population for this research will comprise of undocumented immigrants, Texas elected and appointed officials, federal immigration enforcement officers, local law enforcement officers as well as civil rights’ groups supporting and opposing undocumented immigrants in the state. In the course of this research, I will try to be purposeful while sampling respondents’ perspectives and opinions on the topic of study. To achieve this, I will incorporate a wide range of political ideology, gender, ethnicity, employment and immigration status within the selected population sample. Throughout the interview process, I will be aware of the vulnerability of immigrants. In addition, I will be cautious not to expose the identity of respondents more especially for those currently not holding public offices. The respondents will be at liberty to respond to those questions they are well versed while declining to respond to those that they are not aware/sure about. Also, the respondents have the freedom to terminate the interview process at any time without giving reasons for such decision.

Sample Size and Selection of Sample

The sample size for this research will be drawn from five distinct categories of people in Texas namely: undocumented immigrants, Texas appointed and elected leaders, local law enforcement officers, federal immigrant enforcement officers and civil rights group. To achieve this, I will adopt stratified probability sampling in sample selection. Through this method, I will be able to selected individuals to participate in this research as respondents. The decision to use stratified sampling technique is because I saw it important to subdivide the population into five groups based on a factor that might affect the variable being investigated. With stratified sampling, I will subdivide the total population into five groups (sub-populations). The sub-population is homogeneous while the total population is heterogeneous. This will enable me to obtain more precise samples from each sub-population by accurately estimating each of the sub-population thus higher probability of better sample representing the total population. From each group, I will obtain a simple random sample from which I will collect research data.

Stratified sampling proves to the most appropriate sampling technique for this study as study sample is to be drawn from a population comprising of heterogeneous groups. Through this technique, I will be able to obtain a representative sample for each group which in turn will give a representation of the entire population of Texas. This implies that the data I will collect from 360 persons will give data representing the entire Texas population on research topic.

Since the total population of each group on Texas State is large, I will employ 30% of the population using stratified randomized design to identify individual samples across all the sub-population of the total population (Kothari, 2004). Using proportional allocation method while keeping the size of the sub-populations constant, the sample size for each group was calculated as presented in Table 1 below. I will use proportional sampling since it is most efficient and provides an optimal design as the cost of selecting sample size for each sub-population is the same.

Table 1: Research sample size

Population group Population Frequency Sample Ratio Sample Size
Local law enforcement officers 440 440 X 0.3 = 132 132
Federal immigrant enforcement officers 300 300 X 0.3 = 84 90
Immigrants 200 200 X 0.3 = 60 60
Texas elected and appointed officials 100 100 X 0.3 = 30 30
Civil rights groups 160 160 X 0.3 = 48 48
TOTALS 1,200   360

Therefore, the sample size for this research will constitute of 360 persons drawn from five categories directly affected by SB 4 laws.

Sources of Data

The main source of data for this research shall be primary data that will be collected through interview and questionnaire methods. The reasons for using primary data over secondary data include: collecting data tailored towards my research objectives and higher inherent trustworthy due to greater validity compared to secondary sources. However, the main drawback associated with this data source involves resource limitations in terms of time and money in carrying out research in order to reach a vast number of participant spread across a large geographical location. In this research, the issue of geographical location will not be a hindrance as I will conduct the research through online platform. I also anticipate that the entire data collection process will not take much time as I will not be wasting time travelling from one region to the other. However, the research will involve large capital investment in ensuring that the online interview platform works efficiently.

Collection of Data

I will employ unstructured interview method in collecting data and information. According to Fischer (2005), interview method of collecting data is defined as a logical method involving asking respondents set of question and subsequent recording of responses. Basically, there are two methods of interview namely: structured and unstructured. In structured interviews, set of programmed questions are used whereby an interviewer asks the respondent questions while following a fixed order and recording the responses using highly specialized technique. This implies that structured interviews are fixed. On the other hand, unstructured interviews allow the interviewer to ask questions without necessary following any particular order of presentation. That is, unstructured interviews are highly flexible. Based on this distinction, I will employ unstructured interview using Skype and telephone. This will give me the opportunity to ask supplementary questions in addition to allowing the interviewer to omit any question(s) the researcher might consider less significant to the research topic. Secondly, unstructured interview will give me an upper hand in collecting data and information in order to achieve the primary objective of the research.  Also, the use of unstructured interview in this research will enable me to develop high listening capabilities as well as being non-judgemental throughout the interview process.

In this research study, I will adopt specific research procedures in order to meet the objectives of the research on understanding of Texas Senate Bill 4 by local law enforcement. This will involve preparing for the interview by familiarizing with the research topic to enable me to understand the kind of data and information to collect during interview process. Secondly, I will make known to the respondents in advance the purpose of the research. During the actual data collection process, I will collect research data and information through unstructured interview method. This will be followed by recording, managing and organizing all responses to facilitate storage, retrieval and analysis of collected data and information. Finally, I will code data responses into specially designed and prepared data collection templates for further analysis.

The main advantages of unstructured interview include: allowing the respondent to give their genuine personal responses on study topic without being affected by set of responses, enables the researcher to obtain detailed information and data, the unstructured nature of the interview enables the respondents to give honest and open responses and can enable the researcher to change focus by giving attention to important elements of the research. However, the methods has a number of drawbacks such as high probability of the respondent going off topic when responding to research questions, difficult in reporting study findings due to varied responses from respondents even on the same question(s) as well as the interview taking longer than the allocated time.

Exposure Assessment

This research will be designed for qualitative approach in order to interpret study findings on understanding Texas Senate Bill 4 by local law enforcement. I will take a personal attempt to measure and estimate the viewpoints of undocumented immigrants with regard to the to the respondents’ background in terms of ethnicity, locality and economic conditions. Due to vulnerability of some respondents of the study population, I will develop a specific approach aimed at attaining the needs of each group especially undocumented immigrants. The engagement between the respondents and the researcher will be handled with maximum care by seeking for authority from the respondent to partake in the interview. In order to obtain an in-depth understanding of the subject matter under study, I will try as much as possible to provide an environment for conversational engagement. For Texas elected leaders, I will be tactful by carefully evaluating questions to be asked based on their public statements on immigration policies of Texas. It will also be important for the research to adopt and maintain highest standards of academic integrity through use of neutral terms by avoiding the use of terms, descriptions, or vocabularies commonly used in the national discourse on undocumented immigrants. This is crucial due to the sensitivity of respondents’ responses to Texas SB 4. This will portray my acknowledgement of the status of immigrants in the U. S. without placing judgement upon them.

Data Management

Data management is the process of validating, storing, protecting and processing collected data to ensure that data is accessible and reliable. Since the research will involve a large number of participants, I will develop an effective data management plan (DMP) in order to handle large quantities of data to be collected for the data to make sense.  The use of data management plan will ensure that data processing and validation are more effective and consumes less time. The main reason for developing a data management plan is because of the challenges many researchers encounter while undertaking their research works. Although a researcher could be good at collecting data, they end up having challenges in managing their data to make sensibly conclusions and findings from it. Hence, it is not enough for the researcher to collect data but he/she should understand that meaningful value can only be obtained from data by having a proper data management plan in place. This will enable the researcher to move beyond collection of raw data with effective plan in place for data processing, storage and validation.

I will use the following six steps to ensure the management of my research data collected in this study:

  • Developing of data managing tool kit using DPM Tool in addition to exploring resources at my institutions since some institutions have institutionalised data management templates.
  • Planning for data management and revisiting the plan in order to make necessary changes based on research hypotheses and sampling plan, methods of sample collection and analysis, data collection tools and instruments and expected plan for long term storage of research data.
  • Collecting and checking my data by ensuring that I collect data in a manner that will ensure its usability in future. I will also ensure that research methods and documentation are carefully considered prior to data collection.
  • Describing and documenting my research data to facilitate future understanding and interpretation of data. To describe my data for future use, I will understand the context under which I collected my data as well as the measurements used and the quality of my data. This will be important in easy discovery, understanding and usage of my data in future.
  • Selecting a repository for my research: I will use Open Access Repository to identify an appropriate data repository for my data as well as identifying the end-users of my data. To identify the best data repository based on my data type and line of study, I will consult my colleagues in college, research sponsors and librarians as many libraries have institutional repositories to facilitate publication of locally produced research findings.
  • Storing and preserving my research data: this will be the last step in my data management plan. Here, I will adopt a data preservation and storage plan that will ensure data recovery in the event that the file is lost. This will involve routine storage of data in different files.

Data Analysis Strategies

Data analysis is basically the process of reducing and making sense from a chunk of collected data usually from different sources in order to come up with impressions and findings addressing the research question(s). Through data analysis, the researcher is able to explain and interpret collected data. It is important for any researcher to analyse collected data at the end of data collection exercise in order to obtain useful and usable information. Other objectives of data analysis include describing and summarizing data, compare and contrast different variables in collected data and identify existing relationships between variables. Since this research is qualitative conducted using interview method, my data will be in form of interview transcripts comprising of respondents’ responses that I will be recording during interviews.

In this research, I will adopt a systematic data analysis strategy as the analysis is highly dependent on researcher’s impressions. This will enable me to report these impressions in a more structured and transparent manner. This is particularly important because many people have a common perception that qualitative research is less reliable and sound compared to quantitative research. In data analysis, I will pay special attention to the spoken word, its context, intensity of respondents’ comments as well as contradictions and consistency of views.

There are two data analysis strategies namely frame work analysis and thematic network analysis strategies. Frame work analysis allows the researcher to examine the collected data with a pre-defined framework based on research aims and objectives thus allowing him/her to focus on specific responses while abandoning those that are not in line with research aims and objectives. The thematic network analysis strategy on the other hand takes a more exploratory perspective thus enabling the researcher to consider and code collected data to create to create new impressions that will shape the interpretation of data in different and unexpected dimensions. Based on this distinction and the nature of my research, I will adopt a thematic network analysis in this research.

First, I will familiarize with my data by reading and re-reading collected data. This will be followed by making of short and precise notes comprising of thoughts that build in my mind after reading my data. For each piece of data or transcript to be analysed, I will write a summary thereof. In order to condense collected data and information into key themes that will shed light on my research questions, I will start coding collected data and information into code. Codes are short phrases capturing the essence of collected data. To facilitate coding process, I will first develop a coding framework comprising of list of codes that I expect. For instance, I expect different codes under origin of SB 4, social and economic impact, future implications, reaction of civil rights’ group and future implications. In so doing, I will divide my data into different descriptive topics.

After coding, all my data, I will start abstracting themes from the codes by reviewing the codes and grouping them together based on common themes. To effectively accomplish this, I will write all code headings in order to obtain an overview of different codes in order to facilitate their clustering into themes. I will carefully observe any underlying structure and/or pattern such as between different persons comprising the sample population such as immigrants and Texas elected and appointed leaders. From basic themes I will reduce my data to get organising themes which will be reduced further to obtain the global theme that will help in addressing research questions. For the interest of limited time, I will use computer software in carrying out all these steps thus facilitating the analysis of my data.

Ethics and Human Subjects Issues

Research ethics is defined as code of practice or principles followed by the researcher as per set of moral principles guiding research processes. The researcher will by all means adhere to all research ethics. For instance, I will obtain informed consent prior from respondents and relevant state agencies. This is important because any research involving human being should take principles aimed at respecting moral autonomy of each person taking part in the research. Also, I will respect the individual’s right of making autonomous decisions in a manner that will not interfere with one’s civil rights. Therefore, I will obtain either verbal or written agreement from the respondent. The agreement will lay foundation for the interview, ground rules and the implications of their responses.

To address ethical issues related to research data protection and vulnerability, I will ensure that collected data is highly depersonalised and protected against being accessed and used by unauthorised individuals. This is element is of special importance in this study as it involves immigrants who are facing ethnic profiling and discrimination; also the study will involve state elected and appointed official with varied standpoints on the issue of immigration.

I will ensure that the confidentiality of the respondents is highly protected by using three main approaches. First, I will obtain a permission allowing me to provide personally identifiable facts and information before final publication of the data. Secondly, I will require the participants to validate study conclusions by clearly distinguishing researcher’s views from those of respondents in the final work. Lastly, I will use different names for persons taking part in the research to ensure that they are not identifiable by anybody in the general public.


The timeframe for this research is projected to last for a period not exceeding one year expected to elapse in August 2018 when I will submit my final thesis to the institution. During this timeframe I will carry out different activities namely research proposal, literature review on related research studies, data collection, data analysis and chapter-by-chapter thesis writing leading to the final submission of my thesis.

Expected Outcomes, Significance or Rationale

This research is important in making contributions to the existing knowledge gap in literature as well as facilitating the understanding of Texas SB 4 by local law enforcement. The scope of the research topic cuts across different academic disciplines such as political science, sociology, economics, global affairs and law. The research is of special significance to global affairs that promotes social equity among all people regardless of their race, religion, skin colour and nationality. This will ensure that people living in any community in the world live together harmoniously without racial profiling and discrimination. The results of this study will bear practical implications on international affair because the way federal immigration enforcement officer and local law enforcement officer will understand and enforce SB 4 will influence the way the State of Texas will relate with immigrants’ home countries such as Mexico.

On the other hand, the study will make positive contributions towards social changes through policy implications by dealing with the current social discrimination that is attributed to negative impacts on development, economy and society. In understanding Texas SB 4 by local law enforcement officers, the study will point out those degenerative provisions in the law that have received widespread criticism from civil rights group. The study is expected to realize a proper understanding of the Bill more particularly to law enforcement agencies in order to achieve cooperation between local law enforcement officers and federal immigration enforcement officers thus improving the security of the citizens. Limited to the above literature review, there is not related study that has been conducted so far on the research topic implying that the findings/outcomes of this research are original and will be fundamental to future research studies.


To carry out this research effectively, I will require the following resources

Table 2: Research Budget

Requirement Cost (US Dollars)
Office space 1,150
Stationery 100
LAN connections 1,270
Smartphone 120
Laptop 250
Data management software 350
Data analysis software 300
Car hire 750
Total 4,290




Table 3: Research time schedule




AUG.-NOV. 2017 DEC.2017 JAN. –FEB. ‘18 MAR. APR. MAY JUN. JUL. AUG. 2018
Proposal writing                  
Proposal approval                  
 Literature survey                  
Data collection                  
Data analysis                  
Thesis writing                  
Thesis submission                  


Fischer, C.T. (Ed.) (2005). Qualitative research methods for psychologists: Introduction through empirical studies. Academic Press.ISBN 0-12-088470-4

Kothari, C. R. (2004). Research Methodology: Methods & Techniques (2nd Edition). New Delhi.: New Age International Publishers.

Massey, D., Durand, J., & Malone, N. (2002). Beyond smoke and mirrors: Mexican immigration in an era of economic integration. (p. 49). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Orozco, R., & López, F. (2015). Impacts of Arizona’s SB 1070 on Mexican American students’ stress, school attachment, and grades. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 23(42).

Rosenblum, M., & Brick, K. (2011). US immigration policy and Mexican/central American migration flows: Then and now. Migration Policy Institute and Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 5-6. Retrieved from

William Arrocha (2012). Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070: Targeting the Other and Generating Discourses and Practices of Discrimination and Hate,

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