Travis County, Texas, has one of the highest deportation rates in the U.S. thanks to the local sheriff’s voluntary cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. An average of 19 immigrants a week are deported here. Stopping the deportation dragnet in Travis County would mean stopping the potential detention and deportation of thousands of Austin-area residents. Grassroots Leadership, in coalition with other groups in the Austin-area, is making that happen by engaging in direct action, community education, and dialogue with local elected officials.
The #19TooMany Campaign
ICE Out of Austin – a group pushing for local law enforcement to no longer cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain or deport undocumented immigrants – arrived outside of Adler’s office shortly before 5:30 p.m., belting out chants in English and Spanish and demanding a meeting with the mayor. Group leader Alejandro Caceres rejected an offer from a mayoral aide to meet with Adler in his office, saying that group members wanted the meeting to be public.
Adler responded that he was unsure whether a resolution was “the best way” to offer protections to the community.
“But we’re telling you that it is the best way, actually,” responded Caceres. “We’re telling you that we’re tired of families getting deported, we’re tired of politicians saying we have to be patient.”
“We see you as an ally and a friend, Mayor Adler, but if you’re telling us that you’re not going to put forward a resolution, then you stand with ICE and deportations,” Caceres added. “There is no gray line.” Read more about Immigrant rights activists confront mayor over deportations
WHAT: An Austin people’s hearing on the local deportation crisis
WHO: The ICE Out of Austin campaign members
WHEN: Monday, January 25, 5:00 p.m.
WHERE: City of Austin City Hall Atrium, 301 W 2nd St. Read more about Austin’s immigrant community to hold a people’s hearing on deportations at Austin City Hall
Austin City Council Member Greg Casar and several community groups will host a “Know Your Rights” training in response to immigration raids being conducted nationally by the federal government to deport people in the country illegally.
At the training, which will be hosted by Casar, Grassroots Leadership, ICE Out of Austin and the UT Immigration Clinic, attendees will be trained on how to interact with immigration officials and will be educated on what rights they have under the law, a news release from Casar’s office said.
When: Saturday, Jan. 30, from 2-3 p.m.
Where: St. John’s Episcopal Church, 11201 Parkfield Drive, Austin, TX 78758 Read more about Council member, community groups to host event on immigration raids
A coalition of attorneys and immigrant rights groups is suing 10 federal agencies over withholding documents related to how the Obama administration is dealing with deporting alleged criminal immigrants.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, the Asian-Americans Advancing Justice Asian Law Caucus and the Immigration Justice Clinic at Cardozo Law School, alleges the agencies, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Department of Homeland Security and the Executive Office of Immigration Review, have violated public records laws for not releasing information about implementing the Priority Enforcement Program, also known as PEP. The program is intended to prioritize the deportation of what government officials have called “the worst of the worst.”
"ICE is, once again, operating in secrecy. It's time for the nation's largest police force to come clean," said NDLON executive director Pablo Alvarado.
Some groups in Texas maintain the policy change hasn’t made any difference, despite federal officials' promises that PEP would be less sweeping.
“The deportation rate in Travis County, Texas, home to so-called liberal oasis Austin, continues to be one of the highest in the state and the U.S. An average of 19 people a week are deported from Travis County,” said Grassroots Leadership, a nonprofit group opposed to Secure Communities and PEP, in a statement in July. The group posted on its website a video clip of Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton telling county commissioners that PEP was, in essence, the same as Secure Communities and “all [the government] did was change the name.” Read more about Activists Sue 10 Federal Agencies Over Secrecy in Deporting Alleged Criminals
As we finish up 2015, we thought we’d reflect on the year at Grassroots Leadership. We’ve had a terrific year of work and it couldn’t have been possible without the hard work and support of our staff, board, volunteers, allies, and donors. Please consider making a donation to help our work continue in 2016. Thank you, we couldn’t do it without you! Read more about The year in review: 15 highlights of 2015 at Grassroots Leadership!
Ten days after news broke of a hunger strike at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas, reports are emerging from inside Hutto that six women are being rounded up for transfer by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as retaliation for participating in the hunger strike.
Grassroots Leadership, an organization that forms part of a larger umbrella group known as Texans United for Families (TUFF), confirms two of the initial hunger strikers, Francisca and Amalia, have been moved to a remote majority men’s detention center in Pearsall, Texas. The organization also reports that Francisca’s family has verified that she has been placed in solitary confinement there.
Last weekend, Insis, a Garífuna woman from Honduras participating in the hunger strike, was placed in “medical solitary confinement” for two days. Read more about Women Face Retaliation at Texas Detention Center Following Hunger Strike
(AUSTIN, Texas) — Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter early this week to Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, who has limited her department’s cooperation with federal immigration authorities, saying her policy “leaves the State no choice but to take whatever actions are necessary to protect our fellow Texans.”
Recently officials in Austin and Travis County have taken steps to end cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Travis County Jail, in response to years-long outcry in Travis County over deportations here. Read more about Texas Gov. Abbott threatens counties that limit cooperation with federal immigration agents
WHAT: Rally to #LetSulmaStay
WHO: Sulma Franco and supporters from the faith communities in Austin and San Antonio
WHEN: Tuesday, August 18 at 12:15 p.m.
WHERE: Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office, 8940 Fourwinds Dr, Windcrest, TX (San Antonio)
(SAN ANTONIO, Texas) — On Tuesday, Sulma Franco, who has been taking sanctuary from deportation in the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin since June 11, will travel to San Antonio to submit her application for a stay of deportation in person. Read more about Rally planned to stop deportation of LGBTQ activist
Diversas organizaciones que velan por los derechos de las personas encarceladas y los inmigrantes exigieron el jueves 6 a los comisionados del condado de Travis que elaboren lo que denominaron un presupuesto ‘justo’ y que incluya dos peticiones por las que han luchado por años.
Durante una conferencia de prensa celebrada en la Corte de Comisionados del Condado de Travis, voceros de Grassroots Leadership, Texas Criminal Justice Coalition y de la campaña ICE Out of Austin pidieron que se reinstalen las visitas personales a internos de la cárcel local y que se elimine la colaboración entre la Oficina del Alguacil y el Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas (ICE).
“Estamos aquí para decirles (a los comisionados) que esperamos que vayan a trabajar en lo que les hemos solicitado, un verdadero presupuesto justo”, dijo Kymberlie Quong, de Grassroots Leadership.
“Nosotros pensamos que usar el dinero del condado de Travis para separar a las familias, ya sea por deportación o por hacer que vean a sus seres queridos por un video, es terrible, es incorrecto”, dijo durante la conferencia Alejandro Cáceres, gerente de la campaña ICE Out of Austin. Read more about Activistas presionan a comisionados de Travis por presupuesto