The #19TooMany Campaign

Travis County, Texas, has one of the highest deportation rates in the U.S. thanks to the local sheriff’s voluntary cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. An average of 19 immigrants a week are deported here. Stopping the deportation dragnet in Travis County would mean stopping the potential detention and deportation of thousands of Austin-area residents. Grassroots Leadership, in coalition with other groups in the Austin-area, is making that happen by engaging in direct action, community education, and dialogue with local elected officials.

 

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Local faith leaders come together to voice support for LGBT activist taking sanctuary in First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin

WHAT: Press conference releasing a letter from 60 clergy and people of faith to stop the deportation of Sulma Franco
WHO: Sulma Franco, Rev. Marisol Caballero (Assistant Minister, First Unitarian Universalist Church, Austin) Rev. Jim Rigby (Pastor, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Austin) Rev. Mark Skrabacz (Pastor, San Gabriel Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Georgetown), and Attorneys Alexandra Minnaar and Natalie Hansen
WHEN:   Wednesday, July 29th, 10:30am
WHERE: First Unitarian Universalist Church, 4300 Grover Ave., Austin, TX, 78756 Read more about Local faith leaders come together to voice support for LGBT activist taking sanctuary in First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin

Grassroots Leadership applauds efforts to reduce mass incarceration in Travis County

(AUSTIN, Texas) — We applaud Sheriff Greg Hamilton’s recognition that our criminal justice system is “not functioning as it should” as he called today for more to be done to end mass incarceration. Specifically, the sheriff said that the United States spends too much money incarcerating too many people, and the result does not increase public safety. Indeed, according to the NAACP, $70 billion are spent yearly on corrections. This expensive criminal justice system does not serve taxpayers and disproportionately impacts people of color. Read more about Grassroots Leadership applauds efforts to reduce mass incarceration in Travis County

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

"All they did was change the name," Texas Sheriff exposes PEP-Comm deportation program

A Texas sheriff has blown the lid of the federal government's new deportation program, admitting that it's just like the disgraced "Secure Communities" program. 

Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton has faced intense local pressure to opt out of S-Comm but has been vocal about his support for S-comm and working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in general. The sheriff and ICE have even been eager pen pals

So you can believe Sheriff Hamilton when he says that the "Priority Enforcement Program" or PEP-Comm, which is supposed to replace S-Comm, is just the same thing with a new name. 


Read more about "All they did was change the name," Texas Sheriff exposes PEP-Comm deportation program

U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General Report Condemns GEO Operated Reeves County Detention Center

Last Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General released a report chronicling a number of egregious practices taking place at the one of the world’s largest for-profit prisons. Reeves C

While mothers and children languish in detention, private prison companies reveal million dollar compensations for top executives

Private prison companies GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) recently released proxy materials revealing million dollar compensations for their top executives. Both documents included charts that reflected salary figures, stock awards, option awards, among various other means of monetary compensation. Read more about While mothers and children languish in detention, private prison companies reveal million dollar compensations for top executives

Humpday Hall of Shame | Stop the deportation of Nan-Hui Jo

We should all be ashamed of a justice system that punishes people who are trying to do the right thing.  In the case of Nan-Hui Jo, doing the right thing meant fleeing the United States with her infant daughter, Vitz Da, to escape the physical and emotional abuse of the child’s father.  Upon her escape, her ex-partner filed child abduction charges, for which Nan-Hui was tried twice. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have continued to leverage their institutional power to maintain an immigration hold and pursue deportation, which would permanently separate Nan-Hui from her daughter.

Despite evidence of abuse and her status as a survivor and a pending U Visa application on file, Yolo County (CA) District Attorneys have advanced racist, anti-immigrant, and sexist tropes to paint Nan-Hui as an abuser, leading to what has been a seven-month separation of mother and child.  If she is deported, this separation will become permanent.

Read more about Humpday Hall of Shame | Stop the deportation of Nan-Hui Jo

Nov 21, 2014
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The Texas Observer

Obama’s Immigration Reform: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

A Priority Enforcement Program, aka PEP, replaces the controversial Secure Communities program—which encouraged local law enforcement agencies to enforce immigration law. It looks like under PEP, ICE detainers will be replaced by a notfication system among other things.

Cristina Parker, spokesperson for the nonprofit Grassroots Leadership, which helped lead the charge in Texas against the unpopular Secure Communities program, says that her organization and others who have fought against the program for years are celebrating its demise. S-COMM was the reason that many immigrants were deported for minor misdemeanors or traffic infractions.

Parker says they are pessimistic, however, about the new program and eagerly awaiting more details on how it will be implemented. “ICE doesn’t inspire confidence in how it follows directives. It’s a rogue agency. And this really sounds very similar to the first day of S-COMM,” she says. “That’s kind of where we’re at now but we’re trying to be cautiously optimistic.” Read more about Obama’s Immigration Reform: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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