#19toomany

Oct 26, 2016
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Texas Observor

Guatemala Mom, Son Win Surprise Victory for Sanctuary Movement

A Guatemalan mom and son who have been living in Sanctuary in Austin have finally received a form of deportation relief for the next year. Hilda Ramirez and her son Ivan had been living in St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church for the past 8 months under threat of deportation back to Guatemala. Hilda and her son came to the U.S. in August of 2014 seeking asylum, and spent the next 11 months in the for-profit Karnes Family Residential Facility. Hilda and Ivan were then released from Karnes due to a separate Special Immigrant Juvenile status that Ivan applied for, and because a federal judge had recently ruled against prolonged family detention. 

The two were living at an Austin-area shelter in January when the Obama administration announced a new set of removal priorities that targeted adults who entered the United States with children after May 2014. Despite Ivan’s ongoing application, an order of deportation remained active for both of them.

That’s when Ramirez connected with organizers at Austin’s Grassroots Leadership and St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, where she and Ivan took sanctuary, invoking a long-standing practice in which places of worship house and advocate for immigrants, taking advantage of ICE’s policy of avoiding “sensitive locations.”

Eight months later, ICE informed the family’s lawyer that they would receive relief from deportation in the form of deferred action, which protects them for one year before they must renew the status.

“This is an important step,” said Grassroots’ immigration organizer Alejandro Caceres, “but we need to see more faith communities like St. Andrew’s standing up and saying to ICE: ‘You’ll have to get through us first.’”

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Advocates, explained Caceres, had been demanding a stay of removal, a form of relief designed for immigrants who have exhausted all of their legal options and which ICE has granted to other immigrants in sanctuary. Instead, ICE granted deferred action, which is normally given to those who never went through deportation proceedings. A key difference is that Ramirez and her son will not have to attend regular ICE check-ins.

“I can only think it was the community pressure,” Caceres told the Observer, “and they just wanted to make us leave them alone.” It remains uncertain whether ICE will grant the same relief in similar cases going forward. Caceres added that the Austin movement will continue to push for permanent cancellation of removal in the case.

Read more about Guatemala Mom, Son Win Surprise Victory for Sanctuary Movement
Jul 10, 2015
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Austin American-Statesman

Rick Perry reprises sanctuary cities issue on a national stage

"One of the underpinnings of Rick Perry’s long-shot bid for president is that his 14 years of governing a state with a 1,200-mile border with Mexico gives him unique authority on immigration issues.

Then, less than a month ago, real estate mogul Donald Trump entered the race with what seemed a few ill-chosen words on the subject and stormed to the front of the crowded GOP pack, his position strengthened by the tragic July 1 shooting death in San Francisco of 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle, allegedly by Francisco Sanchez, a five-time deportee from Mexico who eluded being deported a sixth time because he found himself in a 'sanctuary city.'
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Bob Libal, executive director of the Austin office of Grassroots Leadership, which backs sanctuary policies, said that no community in Texas fits that description of a sanctuary city.

'We are not a sanctuary city,' said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. At the same time, Acevedo said, 'Most major city police chiefs believe that in an era of limited resources, we are not immigration agents, we’re not ICE.'

The crucial distinction between San Francisco and Austin is that Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton, who runs the jail, cooperates with ICE when they ask that a prisoner they suspect of being in the country illegally be detained for extra time, while the sheriff in San Francisco does not." Read more about Rick Perry reprises sanctuary cities issue on a national stage

Jul 8, 2015
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KEYE TV

Protest Calls to End Deportation Information Sharing

"Dozens of people rallied outside the Travis County Jail Tuesday evening, calling for an end to programs where local law enforcement share information about inmates with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Cristina Parker, immigration projects director for Grassroots Leadership, says 19 people are deported each week in Austin and Travis County as a result of information sharing programs. Right now, local law enforcement share inmate information with ICE, and ICE can then decide whether to deport the inmate. 'This is being felt in neighborhoods all across Austin and we want the leaders of our county, and our city, and our community to know that we care about this issue and we're going to fight for it,' she said." Read more about Protest Calls to End Deportation Information Sharing

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