Grassroots Leadership In The News

Jan 6, 2020
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Telemundo Austin

Preocupa descenso de solicitudes de visas U de Policía de Austin

La noche del lunes, la Comisión de Asuntos del Inmigrante realizó su primera reunión del año, abordando la preocupación que ha causado un reciente informe sobre las solicitudes de visas U que ha recibido la Policía de Austin en los últimos años.

Durante la junta, la oficial Christine Chomout explicó el proceso que sigue el departamento al recibir solicitudes.

“Si ha estado involucrado como víctima de un delito, debe obtener una prueba de la policía que diga que ha cooperado y que continuará cooperando en la investigación y el enjuiciamiento del delito del que ha sido víctima”, dijo Chomout. Read more about Preocupa descenso de solicitudes de visas U de Policía de Austin

Jan 6, 2020
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El Expresso

Gran disparidad racial en las detenciones en el tercer mayor condado de EEUU

Houston (TX), 6 ene (EFE News).- El sistema penal del texano condado de Harris, el tercero más grande del país y donde se asienta Houston, presenta una acentuada disparidad racial en las tasas de encarcelamiento y detenciones, según un reporte dado a conocer este lunes.

El informe, llamado en inglés Care not Cages (Cuidados y no celdas) y presentado por las organizaciones civiles Grassroots Laaderhip y Texas Advocates for Justice, resalta la disparidad entre el porcentaje de afroamericano en el condado de Harris, que era del 19,7 % en 2017, con el de arrestos (45,4 % del total) a esa misma población.

"A pesar de contar con una población diversa, existen marcadas inequidades en el número de arrestos y a quiénes se detiene en la ciudad de Houston y el condado de Harris. El resultado indica que hay una cuota importante de racismo por parte de las autoridades policiacas que preocupa", sostuvo María Reza, con Grassroots Leadership, en declaraciones a Efe. Read more about Gran disparidad racial en las detenciones en el tercer mayor condado de EEUU

Jan 6, 2020
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Latinx Today

Gran disparidad racial en las detenciones en el tercer mayor condado de EEUU

El informe, llamado en inglés Care not Cages (Cuidados y no celdas) y presentado por las organizaciones civiles Grassroots Laaderhip y Texas Advocates for Justice, resalta la disparidad entre el porcentaje de afroamericano en el condado de Harris, que era del 19,7 % en 2017, con el de arrestos (45,4 % del total) a esa misma población.

"A pesar de contar con una población diversa, existen marcadas inequidades en el número de arrestos y a quiénes se detiene en la ciudad de Houston y el condado de Harris. El resultado indica que hay una cuota importante de racismo por parte de las autoridades policiacas que preocupa", sostuvo María Reza, con Grassroots Leadership, en declaraciones a Efe.

El reporte, que analiza datos del sistema penal del condado de Harris de marzo de 2015 hasta marzo de 2018, señala además que ese sector de la población supera la mitad (51%) de los casos en donde los detenidos deben pasar más de una noche en una celda del condado en espera de una resolución judicial. Read more about Gran disparidad racial en las detenciones en el tercer mayor condado de EEUU

Dec 22, 2019
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USA Today

Deaths in custody. Sexual violence. Hunger strikes. What we uncovered inside ICE facilities across the US

NEW ORLEANS – At 2:04 p.m. on Oct. 15, a guard at the Richwood Correctional Center noticed an odd smell coming from one of the isolation cells. He opened the door, stepped inside and found the lifeless body of Roylan Hernandez-Diaz hanging from a bedsheet. 

The 43-year-old Cuban man had spent five months in immigration detention waiting for a judge to hear his asylum claim. As his time at Richwood dragged on, he barely answered questions from security or medical staff, who noted his “withdrawn emotional state.” He refused to eat for four days. 

The day after his death, 20 other detainees carried out what they say was a peaceful protest. They wrote “Justice for Roylan” on their white T-shirts, sat down in the cafeteria and refused to eat. Guards swooped in and attacked, beating one of them so severely he was taken to a hospital, according to letters written by 10 detainees that were obtained by the USA TODAY Network and interviews with two detainees’ relatives.  Read more about Deaths in custody. Sexual violence. Hunger strikes. What we uncovered inside ICE facilities across the US

Dec 13, 2019
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Austin Chronicle

ICE Draws Fire for “Sham” Detention Contracts

More than 40 state and local groups are warning Congress that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement shouldn't get away with sidestepping federal protocol when it comes to detention center contracts. In a letter dated Dec. 5, organizations including Grassroots LeadershipRAICESAustin DSA Immigrant Rights Committee, and the Austin Sanctuary Network urge U.S. House members to investigate ICE's attempt to "circumvent procurement law and disregard community opposition to local contract extensions," such as the one for the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in nearby Tay­lor, which houses 500 mostly asylum-seeking women. Read more about ICE Draws Fire for “Sham” Detention Contracts

Dec 12, 2019
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El Mundo

INVESTIGARÁN AL APD POR USO DE LENGUAJE RACISTA Y DISCRIMINATORIO

El Departamento de Policía de Austin (APD) está bajo la lupa como consecuencia de acusaciones anónimas por un supuesto uso de lenguaje racista y discriminatorio contra la comunidad afroamericana y otras minorías. El pasado 5 de diciembre, el Concejo de la Ciudad de Austin votó unánimemente a favor de una resolución que autoriza a una identidad independiente investigar a fondo la conducta de oficiales de alto rango del APD. Read more about INVESTIGARÁN AL APD POR USO DE LENGUAJE RACISTA Y DISCRIMINATORIO

Dec 9, 2019
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Houston Style Magazine

Harris County Advocacy Groups Blast DA Kim Ogg’s Push for Additional Prosecutors

Ahead of the Harris County Commissioners Court’s first set of preliminary budget hearings today, a slew of advocacy groups in and around Houston slammed Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg for an expected funding request for additional prosecutors for her office and called on Commissioners to reject the request, the fifth such ask by DA Ogg’s office since the start of 2019.

“District Attorney Kim Ogg is coming to you yet again to drastically increase the size of her office,” wrote the groups in a letter to the commission. “And she is doing it once again using troublingly flawed numbers and without any clear explanation of why she needs these additional prosecutors. We write today to ask you to stand up for public safety, the strength of our communities, and wise use of taxpayer dollars.” Read more about Harris County Advocacy Groups Blast DA Kim Ogg’s Push for Additional Prosecutors

Dec 5, 2019
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KXAN

City council members, activists discuss action against alleged racism at APD

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Council members and activists want action against alleged racism at the Austin Police Department as city council is set to discuss a resolution to address it Thursday evening.

Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison discussed her resolution, Item 66, at an Austin City Hall press conference Thursday morning. She stood with her colleagues Greg Casar and Jimmy Flannigan as well as representatives from Grassroots Leadership, Austin Justice Coalition, Measure Austin, and more.

Harper-Madison is sponsoring the resolution. It calls for a third-party investigation of APD. Read more about City council members, activists discuss action against alleged racism at APD

Dec 4, 2019
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Austin Chronicle

Advocates Push District Attorney to “No Call” Biased Cops

n a public letter released just before Thanksgiving, several local criminal justice reform groups asked Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore to implement a “No Call" policy for officers who've “committed perjury and other acts of grave misconduct.

The letter notes, these officers "cannot be relied upon to tell the truth on the stand or in any documents that impact a person’s liberty.”

Citing the cases of Austin police officers Robert Pfaff and Donald Petraitis – who were fired and prosecuted (but not convicted) for unnecessarily tasing Quentin Perkins and then lying about it – the groups request that Moore follow the example of other US prosecutors and maintain a list of officers shown to be “biased” or “untrustworthy” or who have engaged in unlawful actions, and thus ineligible to be used as witnesses or in bringing charges. Read more about Advocates Push District Attorney to “No Call” Biased Cops

Nov 20, 2019
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Taylor Press

Communities Not Cages

“Comunidades Si, Jaulas No,” which translates to “Communities Yes, Cages No” in English were chanted as words of encouragement for detainees, and to protest against a renewal contract for the T. Don Hutto Detention Center.

Austin-based action group Grassroots Leadership, along with former detainees raised their voices at the Communities Not Cages protest at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center Saturday, Nov. 16.

“We believe in a world without detention and we believe that we need to invest in policies that make our communities healthier and stronger,” said Grassroots Leadership Immigration Researcher and Organizer Bethany Carson. “We’re here to say that our community does not want this future and [we’re going to] call our local representatives to do anything in their power to end these contracts.” Read more about Communities Not Cages

Nov 18, 2019
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Texas Observer

Activists Rally for the Closure of Hutto Detention Center as Private Contract Rumors Swirl

Dozens of activists rallied outside the T. Don Hutto Residential Facility in Taylor on Saturday, denouncing Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s push to secure long-term private contracts for detention centers in Texas. Among the protesters there to support the 512 women locked up in the facility, which is run by private prison contractor CoreCivic, were former detainees who know the conditions inside firsthand. For some, it was the first time they had returned to Hutto since their release.

Brendy Galdamez, from Honduras, remembered being roused from sleep at 5:30 in the morning for head count, enduring painfully low temperatures, and receiving inadequate medical care. “We got sick all the time because of the cold and all they gave us was Ibuprofen and other painkillers,” Galdamez said. Addressing the crowd, she and other women described their experiences as traumatic, filled with psychological and physical abuse. But the worst part, they said, was not having control over their lives. Read more about Activists Rally for the Closure of Hutto Detention Center as Private Contract Rumors Swirl

Nov 17, 2019
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KXAN

Protesters rally against ICE outside Taylor detention center

TAYLOR, Texas (KXAN) — Protesters rallied outside the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor in an effort to stop Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from securing a 10-year contract with the facility.

A large group of people chanted and held banners as the group gathered on Saturday afternoon.

Last year, Williamson County voted to end its existing contract with ICE.

However, it continued  after ICE lined up a temporary contract directly with a private prison operator.

Grassroots Leadership, which organized the rally in Taylor, is suing ICE over that contract. Read more about Protesters rally against ICE outside Taylor detention center

Nov 16, 2019
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Fox 7 Austin

Immigration rights activists rally outside T. Don Hutto facility, calling on Congress to shut it down

AUSTIN, Texas - Immigration rights activists are calling on Congress to close the T. Don Hutto Detention Center.

The facility holds hundreds of non-citizens awaiting a decision on their immigration status. Saturday advocates rallied in Taylor outside the detention center’s fence.

Signs and instruments in hand the crowd of advocates, students, and non-profits chanted, “Comunidades no jualas” or "communities, not cages."
 
Women who were recently released from the facility returned to be a voice for the women inside. Read more about Immigration rights activists rally outside T. Don Hutto facility, calling on Congress to shut it down

Nov 14, 2019
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El Mundo

INDOCUMENTADA EN SANTUARIO SE LIBRA DE MULTA

Durante su estancia en la St. Andrews Presbyterian Church con su hijo Iván, la inmigrante guatemalteca Hilda Ramírez recibió una notificación del Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) en la que le comunicaban que había sido multada con 304,000 dólares por desafiar diversas órdenes de deportación en su contra. Sin embargo, la ansiedad que ocasionó esa ingrata noticia fue conjurada por el Department of Homeland Security con el anuncio reciente de que las multas contra los refugiados en este país serían retiradas, sin que eso signifique que las órdenes de remoción también serán anuladas.

Para la comunidad inmigrante y para las organizaciones proinmigrantes como Grassroots Leadership la decisión es una victoria, especialmente porque se da en medio de una ambiente político y social desfavorable con la inmigración. Read more about INDOCUMENTADA EN SANTUARIO SE LIBRA DE MULTA

Nov 2, 2019
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Jacobin

A Bipartisan Attack on the Homeless in Texas

Texans live on the front lines of class struggle in America. Amid massive income inequalitythe lowest legal minimum wage in the countrymore worker deaths than any other state, and almost no protections for tenants, we face a familiar enemy: capitalists and their representatives in government. In Texas, they tend to be particularly cruel and raw. Our state government is led by a far-right Republican Party that traffics in racist and xenophobic fearmongering and punitive policy that exploits and targets marginalized people.

In Austin, where I live, we also face well-funded, reactionary opposition from groups that are often willing to back Democrats as long as policy is to their liking. In the campaigns I’ve been a part of here, we’ve faced fierce opposition from both camps. In recent months, this opposition has grown vicious as we’ve waged a campaign to stand with our poorest neighbors against laws that criminalized their very existence. Read more about A Bipartisan Attack on the Homeless in Texas

Nov 2, 2019
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Jacobin

A Bipartisan Attack on the Homeless in Texas

Texans live on the front lines of class struggle in America. Amid massive income inequalitythe lowest legal minimum wage in the countrymore worker deaths than any other state, and almost no protections for tenants, we face a familiar enemy: capitalists and their representatives in government. In Texas, they tend to be particularly cruel and raw. Our state government is led by a far-right Republican Party that traffics in racist and xenophobic fearmongering and punitive policy that exploits and targets marginalized people.

In Austin, where I live, we also face well-funded, reactionary opposition from groups that are often willing to back Democrats as long as policy is to their liking. In the campaigns I’ve been a part of here, we’ve faced fierce opposition from both camps. In recent months, this opposition has grown vicious as we’ve waged a campaign to stand with our poorest neighbors against laws that criminalized their very existence. Read more about A Bipartisan Attack on the Homeless in Texas

Nov 1, 2019
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Austin-American Statesman

ICE drops $304,000 fine for asylum seeker in Austin church

When Austin-based Guatemalan asylum seeker Hilda RamÍrez and her 13-year-old son, Iván, received a letter this summer from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement informing them of its intention to fine her $303,620, shock spread throughout the immigrant and immigrant advocate community.

RamÍrez, who lives with her son in St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in North Austin, was among at least six other women across the country seeking sanctuary who received a letter with similar hefty fines.

Now, ICE has reversed course. RamÍrez, along with the other women fighting their deportation cases, received a letter in October withdrawing the fines. Read more about ICE drops $304,000 fine for asylum seeker in Austin church

Oct 28, 2019
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The Washington Post

Can We Build a Better Women’s Prison?

Lauren Johnson walked into the aging Travis County jail just outside Austin on a sunny Friday in July 2018 and steeled herself. Every time she passed through the door and the smell hit her, it all came rushing back: the humiliation of being shackled while nine months pregnant. The pang of seeing her children from behind a glass barrier. How she’d had to improvise with what little she had, crafting makeshift bras out of the disposable mesh underwear the jail provided. Between 2001 and 2010, she’d been in and out of the facility six times. Altogether, she’d spent about 3½ years of her life incarcerated.

Now she was returning to the jail, eight years after the last time she’d been released. But this time, it was to ask the incarcerated women questions that would’ve been unfathomable to her during her time there: What did they want? How could their experience be improved? Read more about Can We Build a Better Women’s Prison?

Oct 28, 2019
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Telemundo Austin

Entran en vigor cambios a ordenanza sobre la indigencia de Austin

El lunes entraron en vigor los cambios a la ordenanza sobre la indigencia aprobados por el concejo municipal hace dos semanas.

De ahora en adelante, las personas en condición de calle no podrán sentarse, acostarse o acampar en las aceras o a 15 pies de los accesos de casas y negocios, en los alrededores del Centro de Recursos para la Indigencia de la calle 7a o del refugio del Ejército de Salvación, así como áreas vulnerables a incendios.

Debido a los cambios, los oficiales de la policía y trabajadores sociales estuvieron distribuyendo información sobre la prohibición y números de teléfono con agencias y recursos a indigentes en las inmediaciones del albergue ARCH.

“Hoy es un día donde veremos para quienes son estas ordenanzas, si son para la gente que no tiene hogar, que es vulnerable, o si es para la gente que se siente incómoda al ver a gente de su comunidad", dijo Maria Reza, representante de Grassroots Leadership. Read more about Entran en vigor cambios a ordenanza sobre la indigencia de Austin

Oct 23, 2019
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The Daily Caller

ICE Drops a Half-Million-Dollar Charge On Illegal Alien Who’s Refusing To Leave The US

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is no longer charging illegal aliens hundreds of thousands of dollars for refusing to leave the United States, according to a letter sent to immigrant families.

ICE — the agency tasked with carrying out immigration enforcement, including the deportation of illegal aliens — began mailing high-dollar fines in June to numerous foreign nationals who repeatedly ignored orders to leave the country, according to letters made public. One of the fines neared half a million dollars. However, in recent letters to these same illegal aliens, the agency said those fines have been retracted. Read more about ICE Drops a Half-Million-Dollar Charge On Illegal Alien Who’s Refusing To Leave The US

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