Immigration advocates torn between Travis Co. sheriff, Trump wins

November 9, 2016
KXAN

In the aftermath of local and federal elections Tuesday, area immigration advocates are expressing their concern about the future of the issue in Travis County.

“As the night went forward, we realized this sort of sickening feeling, of like, ‘Oh no, I think that Donald Trump is going to win this,’” explained Alejandro Caceres, an Immigration Organizer for Grassroots Leadership in Austin. “There’s a sudden fear of what happens to me tomorrow.”

Among his fears, Caceres says President-elect Donald Trump’s goals for his first day working in the Oval Office are concerning. According to NBC, Trump said he would:

  • Cancel funding to “sanctuary cities”
  • Remove illegal immigrants and cancel visas to countries that refuse to take them back, and
  • Suspend immigration from “terror-prone” regions of the world.

“The president is coming after us,” said Caceres. “There’s people in the United States who actually feel targeted by the president of the United States… for either deportation, for stripping you of your rights, it is very terrifying.”

Caceres said members of immigrant community groups are fearful of a return to the past. “We’ve gained so many victories in the eight years that Obama has been here, and now we’re in threat of going back. Now we’re in threat of having a program like Secure Communities over again.”

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Caceres said the relief he felt after learning Democrat Sally Hernandez had won the election for Travis County Sheriff was only short-lived, clouded by Trump’s success in the race for the White House.

“We do have a local victory and we can push for something that would be really, really great in the state of Texas and the city of Austin, but at the same time, now we have a president who is one hundred times worse than Greg Hamilton,” he said.

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Regardless, Caceres said advocates must continue to fight for what they believe is justice. “We can mourn today, but tomorrow, we have to continue to organize because we don’t want to go back to where we were four, eight years ago.”