Workers Defense, Grassroots Leadership Call on Austin Police Department to Provide Clarity on ICE Cooperation Report

March 1, 2019

AUSTIN -- Today, Austin Police Department released a document that reports on information shared between APD and ICE during 2018. The document, released to Austin City Council this afternoon in accordance with the Freedom City Policy passed last June, lists 581 instances in which APD shared information with ICE about individuals during 2018. The document released by Brian Manley, Chief of Police, can be found online here: http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/edims/pio/document.cfm?id=315723

In response, José P. Garza, Executive Director of the Workers Defense Action Fund, said:

“This report, released with almost no context on a Friday afternoon, contains troubling data that could reveal a widespread pattern of cooperation between Austin law enforcement and ICE, the federal immigration enforcement agency. We now know that APD shared more than 580 reports with ICE about individuals during 2018, including utility reports, license plate readers, insurance reports and phone subscriptions. Austinites deserve an explanation. We call on the Austin Police Department to immediately provide clarity on the policies and circumstances that lead to the sharing of the data detailed in the report.”

Bob Libal, Executive Director of Grassroots Leadership, said:

"This report demonstrates the exact reasons why we needed a Freedom City policy in the first place.  APD turning over hundreds of reports to ICE about individuals in Austin puts our community directly in the crosshairs of Trump's deportation forces. It is these very patterns and practices that make it so difficult for community to trust law enforcement. We also know this is just the tip of the deportation iceberg with hundreds more individuals exposed to deportation when arrested and turned over to ICE at the Travis County Jail. We need answers from APD on why these records were turned over, and we need bold action at every level of government to defend our communities from ICE in the era of SB4."

Austin’s Freedom City Policy included Resolution 74, which, among other things requires the City Manager to provide quarterly reports to Austin City Council regarding information sharing and requests for cooperation between APD and ICE or other federal immigration officials, as well as the use of city resources to further federal immigration enforcement.

Note: The APD report includes a discrepancy on the number of instances where APD provided information in response to requests for assistance or cooperation from a federal immigration officer. In a paragraph, the report states that there were 581. In a table, the sum of different categories is 541.

Contact: 

Juliet Barbara, (512) 466-9258, juliet@wdactionfund.org

Bob Libal, (512) 971-0487, blibal@grassrootsleadership.org