Mar 14, 2018
Texas Tribune

After ruling on Texas' "sanctuary cities" law, opponents say they're down but not out

"Another option is for local governments to adopt or continue policies where being charged for an alleged misdemeanor doesn’t trigger automatic arrest, said Bob Libal, the executive director of Grassroots Leadership, an Austin-based immigrant rights and private-prison watchdog group.

'Local officials need to act swiftly to stop the arrest-to-deportation pipeline that will be accelerated by SB 4,' Libal said. 'They can start by enacting policies that end discretionary arrests while ensuring that scarce public resources are not wasted on unnecessary immigration enforcement actions that terrorize the immigrant community.'" [node:read-more:link]

Oct 20, 2017
Austin Chronicle

Hernandez to ICE Reversal Critics: “This Is Not Over”

The Austin Chronicle interviewed Cristina Parker, communications director at Grassroots Leadership, on Sheriff Sally Hernandez's decision to reverse her policy on ICE detainers following the SB 4 injunction ruling. "'The ruling is unfortunately unclear,' said Parker. 'But as far as we're concerned, there's no reason [Hernandez] couldn't side with other legal minds. 'It's disappointing and damaging to the community that she would choose to go with one interpretation over another.'"
Oct 20, 2017
Austin American-Statesman

Attorney General Sessions hails anti-sanctuary cities law in Texas

"One protester, an undocumented immigrant who came over from Mexico as a teenager, said she fears Trump and Sessions’ hardline tone on immigration is promoting violence aimed at minorities. 'The attacks have increased against many communities,' said Claudia Muñoz, 33, who fled drug violence in Monterrey when she was 16. 'There’s people who feel it’s OK to attack me.' Protesting Sessions, she said, provided an opportunity to oppose Trump and his anti-immigration rhetoric. 'We know the agenda he’s trying to push,' Muñoz added. 'We’re not scared of him.'"
Oct 9, 2017
The Intercept

Texas Sheriff Broke Promise to Keep ICE out of Local Jails

The Intercept wrote an investigation of Sheriff Sally Hernandez's new policy to honor all ICE detainers following the 5th Circuit Court's ruling on the injunction of SB 4. "'I think the bigger picture here is her honoring detainers will mean a lot more deportations for our communities,' said Bob Libal, the executive director of Grassroots Leadership. The group had run a campaign highlighting that Travis County, under the previous sheriff, had one of the highest deportation rates in the U.S." [node:read-more:link]

Oct 1, 2017

Immigrants' Rights Groups Confront Fear And Confusion After Latest 'Sanctuary Cities' Ruling

"Bob Libal, executive director of the immigrants’ rights group Grassroots Leadership, said the constant fear of being deported can have an effect on peoples’ mental health. The Austin Police Department has had a verbal policy that officers will ask about a person's immigration status only if it's pertinent to the case – for example, in a case of human trafficking. Monday’s ruling didn't change the department's procedures very much. Officers will now track when and why they ask about immigration status. Libal said the fear of interacting with anyone who resembles law enforcement can also compromise physical health. 'During the immigration raids here in February,' he says, 'we saw things like declines in attendance at school, declines in people accepting rides in ambulances.'"
Sep 28, 2017

Texas ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Case Ruling Gets Mixed Reactions

The ruling of the 5th Circuit Court on SB 4 "caused Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez... to change her policy and honor all immigration detention requests placed on inmates. Hernandez previously honored detainers when inmates were charged with murder, aggravated sexual assault or human trafficking while others were considered on a case-by-basis. 'As I have maintained throughout this process, I have not violated federal or state law, nor do I intend (to),' Hernandez told local media. 'Our policy has been updated to comply with the finding of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.' The decision is disappointing to immigration advocates in Texas who counted on Hernandez to stand with Democrats against a majority Republican state leadership on this divisive issue. 'It is massively disappointing for us to see our sheriff, who had such a strong stance on this, reverse her position,' said Cristina Parker, communications director for Grassroots Leadership. 'She got some bad information from [Texas Attorney General] Ken Paxton and other sources.' Penalties for violating SB4 include jail time and fines of up to $25,500 per day. Elected officials found in violation of the law could be forced out of office."
Sep 25, 2017
KUT 90.5

After Court Ruling, Travis County Will Comply With All ICE Detention Requests

In response to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals' preliminary ruling on SB 4, Sheriff Sally Hernandez announced that she would change Travis County policy to honor all ICE detentions, countering her previous policy to limit ICE intervention in local jails. Grassroots Leadership executive director Bob Libal said, “Any policy changes that lead to deportations from Travis County have the potential to be deadly. We really need our elected officials to stand up now and fight legally and also through creative policies to reduce the number of deportations from our community.”
Sep 25, 2017
The Patch

Federal Court Stays Texas SB 4 Law Compelling Local Law Enforcement To Cooperate With ICE

In response to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling on SB 4, local officials and activists commented on the court's ruling. Grassroots Leadership upholds that no matter the court ruling, we know the deadly consequences of ICE detainers, detention, and deportation. '"We won’t wait for the courts to tell us what we all know to be true: SB4 is nothing but an attack on immigrant communities,' Claudia Muñoz, immigration programs director at Grassroots Leadership, said... In conveying the law's flaws, Muñoz referenced a recent case involving a young immigrant who had escaped the violence of his native Mexico only to be deported and promptly murdered upon his return by the very criminal gangs he fled. The chain of events leading to the death of Juan Coronilla-Guerrero began when ICE agents tracked his whereabouts to the Travis County Courthouse where he reported to a judge on a matter unrelated to his status." [node:read-more:link]


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