Grassroots Leadership In The News

Sep 22, 2017
/
Spectrum News

Immigration rights advocates call deportee's death preventable

Bethany Carson, immigration researcher and organizer at Grassroots Leadership, spoke about APD's unjust arrest of Juan Coronilla-Guerrero for an incident his wife said never happened, and ultimately led to his deportation and death. "ICE is fully aware of the fatal consequences of deportation and still chooses to violently target the most vulnerable people in society for their own profit and political gain," Carson said Read more about Immigration rights advocates call deportee's death preventable.
Sep 21, 2017
/
Rewire

Deported to Death: Cases That Reveal the Danger of U.S. Immigration Policy

National coverage reports the deaths of Juan Coronilla-Guerrero, an undocumented immigrant deported and killed in Mexico, and Felipe Almazan-Ruiz, a man who died in ICE's custody last week. Bethany Carson, immigration policy researcher and organizer at the Grassroots Leadership, told Rewire: “The dangerous conditions that people from different countries are facing are well understood, and it’s well-documented that specific types of people are very much in danger if they are deported back to their home countries. This is the basis of U.S. asylum law, but sadly it doesn’t cover everyone who is in danger and [Guerrero] is an example of that,” Carson said. “ICE treats people like numbers and price tags. Juan’s wife made it very clear her husband would be murdered if he were deported, but ICE didn’t listen.” Read more about Deported to Death: Cases That Reveal the Danger of U.S. Immigration Policy

Sep 20, 2017
/
The Patch

Ensnared By ICE In Austin, Deported Immigrant Winds Up Murdered In Mexico

Local advocates and Grassroots Leadership decry the recent deportation of Juan Coronilla-Guerrero, 28, from Austin during the February ICE raids that led to his death in Mexico. He was arrested by ICE within the Travis County courthouse. “Immigration raids have impacts on individuals and their families that are now often deadly,” Bethany Carson of Grassroots Leadership said. “The county policy refusing to honor most unconstitutional detainers only protects immigrants in our community if they cannot later be snatched from our courts and our streets. Stopping ICE is now a life-and-death matter. Our local elected leaders must do everything within their power to stop these deportations.” Read more about Ensnared By ICE In Austin, Deported Immigrant Winds Up Murdered In Mexico

Sep 19, 2017
/
Austin American-Statesman

Immigrant taken by ICE from Austin courthouse was killed in Mexico

Immigration advocates today responded with sadness and anger to news of the deaths of two men following apprehension by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Juan Coronilla-Guerrero, who was arrested in February during a controversial raid on an Austin courthouse and later deported, was violently killed in Mexico last week, according to a story in the Austin American-Statesman. The article included this quote from Bethany Carson, immigration researcher and organizer with Grassroots: “It really is an act of violence at this point to continue the immigration policies that the government is currently pushing that are sending so many people back to their deaths. Read more about Immigrant taken by ICE from Austin courthouse was killed in Mexico"
Sep 15, 2017
/
Austin Chronicle

Activists' Hopes for Police Negotiations Hinge on Statute of Limitations

Criminal justice organizers with Grassroots Leadership are advocating for an end to the police contract negotiations, known as the meet-and-confer process, that foster a culture of impunity. "'We have met and did not confer,' said Lewis Conway of Grassroots Leadership. 'Because, at this point, that whole meet-and-confer process is useless. It's outdated. There's no fixing it. And part of that process is the Review Panel."' The Austin Chronicle article sheds light on the disparities between police rhetoric and the demands of justice advocates on this broken process.

The article also describes this video created by Grassroots staff Chris Harris showing the comments of APA President Ken Casaday on the brutal arrest of Breaion King in July 2015. "In a harshly spliced video shown during City Council's Aug. 31 meeting, Casaday is seen talking about King's arrest at a bargaining session – reminding city negotiators that two commanders looked at the case and saw 'perhaps a training issue,' but no violation of APD policy. Between his comments are clips from the dash-cam footage of King being wrestled to the ground. 'It's jarring,' said Chris Harris, the film's creator. 'But I think gets across well what we're facing with the meet-and-confer process, and why it's pointless to negotiate under current conditions.' Supporting that point, albeit unintentionally, Casaday reminded that any change to the provision would cost the city elsewhere. These are negotiations, after all." Read more about Activists' Hopes for Police Negotiations Hinge on Statute of Limitations

Sep 14, 2017
/
Austin Chronicle

Doggett Seeks Info on Prison Evacuation (or Lack Thereof)

Media attention continues as Rep. Lloyd Doggett acts with Grassroots Leadership and partners to demand answers for the Federal Bureau of Prisons' decision to leave Beaumont-area prisoners in the path of Hurricane Harvey. Prisoners faced inadequate and unsanitary sewage treatment, intermittent power shortages, and lack of access to food, water and medical care. "In his request, Doggett asks the FBP to clarify 'what actions are being undertaken to protect the wellbeing of prisoners and staff and to restore the facility to pre-disaster conditions.' The Texas representative joins local nonprofit Grassroots Leadership, the ACLU of Texas, and more in demanding the federal prison system address the unlivable situation at FCI Beaumont, and to 'create clear policy on the circumstances in which a federal prison must be evacuated,' said ACLU Deputy Political Director Matt Simpson. Read more about Doggett Seeks Info on Prison Evacuation (or Lack Thereof)"
Sep 13, 2017
/
Univision 41 San Antonio

Protestan frente a ICE por operativos masivos

Activistas de Grassroots Leadership, RAICES, Movimiento Cosecha, y Red de Santuario Austin protestaron a la oficina local de ICE en San Antonio para decir: ICE muéstranos tus papeles. La coalición exigió que ICE nos revelara los planes para redadas masivas que han planeado por este mes. ICE ha dijo que supuestamente habían cancelado las redadas después de los huracanes, pero la comunidad no les confía. En su entrevista con Univision, Claudia Muñoz de Grassroots dijo, "Como comunidad, pensamos que nunca hay tiempo correcto para redadas, entonces venimos a exigir los planes que tenían.” Cuando la agencia negó de tener algún tipo de información, respondió Sulma Franco, “Realmente migración no quisieron contestarnos... Es frustrante que ellos no tengan el carácter para decirnos realmente cuando van a hacer las redadas.” Read more about Protestan frente a ICE por operativos masivos

Sep 12, 2017
/
Texas Observer

The Road to Huntsville by Jorge Antonio Renaud

Jorge Renaud, community organizer with the Texas Advocates for Justice at Grassroots, published an essay in the Texas Observer titled "The Road to Huntsville" on his experience riding "chain buses" over fifteen times to the Huntsville prison. Renaud writes with profundity and clarity on the absurd treatment of prisoners by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and the resilience he claimed for his own transformation. "There is no mystery or romance to prison, not to the iron or stink or violent hopelessness that seeps into its very air, and certainly not to the means of transport by which people arrive or are transferred between the 110 or so TDCJ units... Still, despite all its cruelties, the 1,400-mile 'bus therapy' meant to punish me had the opposite effect. I was away from cages and cacophony when on the chain, and I always accepted the discomfort of bus rides as a welcome respite from the numbing monotony of prison, the rocking bus and green countryside rejuvenating my spirit. Transformation finds few footholds in steel. Life in a cage too often leads to self-pity, not self-improvement. People who are incarcerated understand and struggle with those truths. We seek spaces where the spirit does not recoil: a few moments in a library, a recreation yard quieted by the rain. For me it was the road; the fact that my wrists were bound by iron made little difference. Read more about The Road to Huntsville by Jorge Antonio Renaud"
Sep 12, 2017
/
Houston Press

Lloyd Doggett Wants to Know What Happened at Beaumont's Federal Prison During Harvey

Following pressure from the ACLU of Texas, the Texas Civil Rights Project, the Prison Justice League and Grassroots Leadership, U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett is demanding answers from the Bureau of Prisons regarding the treatment of prisoners in the Beaumont facility left without food and water following Hurricane Harvey. “Due to several reports of alarming conditions at the Beaumont facility, I have inquired with the Federal Bureau of Prisons to express my concern and obtain clarification about what actions are being undertaken to protect the well-being of prisoners and staff and to restore the facility to pre-disaster conditions,” Doggett said. The article references Grassroots' press release stating prisoners were ignored despite advance warning of devastating conditions. Read more about Lloyd Doggett Wants to Know What Happened at Beaumont's Federal Prison During Harvey

Sep 11, 2017
/
The Texas Tribune

Texas congressman concerned about Beaumont prisoners after Harvey

Texas Rep. Lloyd Doggett has filed an inquiry to the Federal Bureau of Prisons regarding the federal agency’s response to Hurricane Harvey. Prisoners in Beaumont have been kept in inhumane conditions, including lack of access to water. While federal agents deny prisoners' testimonies, "Grassroots Leadership organizer Jorge Renaud said it’s better to 'default on the side of the vulnerable populations. When things rise of the level of someone actually being woken up to say something about a condition ... and is willing to go on the record, it’s usually indicative of quite a few more inside who are actually experiencing the same stuff.'" Read more about Texas congressman concerned about Beaumont prisoners after Harvey
Sep 11, 2017
/
Univision 62

Organizaciones locales piden los planes que tenía ICE para realizar presuntos operativos migratorios

Grassroots Leadership y otras organizaciones pro-inmigrantes “exigen a la agencia que entreguen los documentos que muestran cómo iban a realizar operativos que tenían planeados en Texas y Florida.” En su entrevista con Univision, Claudia Muñoz de Grassroots dijo, “Pensamos que es bien impor saber que ICE dijo que sí tenían un plan y nosotros queremos saber cuál era su plan que tenían para aterrorizar a la comunidad como han hecho antes… Nos estamos dando cuenta de todos estos ataques y la comunidad está cansándose y quiere luchar, quiere pelear por estar aquí.” Sobre el plan de ICE para las redadas, dijo Muñoz, “Esto es algo que tienen que darnos.” Read more about Organizaciones locales piden los planes que tenía ICE para realizar presuntos operativos migratorios

Sep 8, 2017
/
Austin Chronicle

Headlines: Alirio Gámez Takes Sanctuary

"Alirio Gámez, from El Salvador, speaks Monday at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, where he's taken sanctuary. 'I sought sanctuary here because I have the right to life,' he said in his native Spanish. 'I came from El Salvador because I suffered the violence that my country lives with .... I was not eager to come here. The work I had in my country was enough to survive.'" (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Read more about Headlines: Alirio Gámez Takes Sanctuary

Sep 8, 2017
/
Austin Chronicle

Grassroots Advocates to Reject Police Contract

Grassroots continues to advocate for more civilian oversight and accountability of police in the negotations between Austin Police Association and the City of Austin. "[A] coalition of criminal justice activists, including those from the Austin Justice Coalition and Grassroots Leadership, continue to advocate for scrapping the entire contract, which they say has led to a situation where the two sides too rigidly adhere to what they see as the incredibly flawed original contract language." Read more about Grassroots Advocates to Reject Police Contract

Sep 8, 2017
/
Texas Observer

Salvadoran Man Seeks ‘Sanctuary’ from Deportation in Austin Church

Austin's Sanctuary leader Alirio was featured in Texas Observer with Grassroots staff member Alejandro Caceres. "Rather than submit to Trump’s deportation machine, Alirio Gámez went to church. On Tuesday, the 40-year-old Salvadoran announced to a group of faith leaders, elected officials and activists that he had decided to live inside Austin’s First Unitarian Universalist Church until his pending expulsion is halted. [...] For Gámez, the Austin Sanctuary Network plans to recruit elected officials to the cause and pressure ICE’s San Antonio field office through calls, petitions and personal visits, according to organizer Alejandro Caceres. Asked whether he thought they’d succeed, Gámez merely replied: 'We’re gonna fight.'" Read more about Salvadoran Man Seeks ‘Sanctuary’ from Deportation in Austin Church

Sep 8, 2017
/
Patch

Austin Immigrant Advocates Demand ICE Release Details On Planned 'Mega Raid'

"Austin immigrant advocates are calling on ICE to release documents revealing the scope of the operation. Officials at Austin-based Grassroots Leadership note the timing of the raid at a time when Donald Trump is directing the construction of more private detention facilities such as the new 1000-bed facility in Conroe, Texas. Advocates from Detention Watch Network assert this raid is a mechanism to intentionally elevate detention numbers before the new fiscal year to manufacture a need to fund more new detention beds, officials suspect. 'Trump’s plan to blatantly round up immigrants to fill detention beds ahead of the national budget debate is outrageous,' Claudia Muñoz, immigration programs director at Grassroots Leadership, said. 'We will continue to organize to defend local immigrant communities from this latest repulsive threat of a white supremacist ideology that dehumanizes immigrants for political gain and corporate profit.' Read more about Austin Immigrant Advocates Demand ICE Release Details On Planned 'Mega Raid'"
Sep 7, 2017
/
Austin Monitor

Public Safety Commission Recommends End to Juvenile Curfew

Grassroots Leadership has advocated for years to end the juvenile curfew in Austin that permits police targeting and punishment of youth of color. Following community testimonies during public forums earlier this year, the Austin Public Safety Commission has voted to recommend an end to the curfew that disproportionately targets minority communities. "APD data that shows that 17 percent of curfew tickets have been handed to black youths, who represent only 8 percent of the city population between the ages of 10 and 17. Read more about Public Safety Commission Recommends End to Juvenile Curfew"
Sep 5, 2017
/
Fox 7 Austin

Man Takes Sanctuary in Local Congregation to Avoid Deportation

Alirio Gámez, a man from El Salvador who has been living in Austin, has taken sanctuary in a local church to avoid deportation. The Austin Sanctuary Netowkr, a multi-faith coalition of congregations in and around Austin, held a press conference to show solidarity with Gámez in his fight to stay safely in the community. Gámez was forced to leave El Salvador due to violence, and remains in the United States seeking safety and to protect his life. "Both the Austin Sanctuary Network, and Gámez say they won't stop fighting until federal immigration authorities use their discretion to put a stop to deportation. Read more about Man Takes Sanctuary in Local Congregation to Avoid Deportation"
Sep 1, 2017
/
United We Dream

Grassroots Continues Work Following SB4 Injunction

Community leaders and immigration rights organizations gathered outside the Governor's Mansion to celebrate the injunction of SB4 and say "the fight for our dignity continues." Bob Libal, Executive Director at Grassroots, said: “We will continue to organize to put up barriers against Trump’s deportation forces and say 'ni una más,' not one more deportation. We will continue working with our City Council to push for local policies that protect Black and immigrant communities from entering the incarceration and deportation pipelines. We are a strong and united community, building solidarity with each other regardless of immigration status, gender, religious and other identities.” #WithLove4TX Read more about Grassroots Continues Work Following SB4 Injunction

Pages