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.
The #19TooMany Campaign
Ten days after news broke of a hunger strike at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas, reports are emerging from inside Hutto that six women are being rounded up for transfer by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as retaliation for participating in the hunger strike.
Grassroots Leadership, an organization that forms part of a larger umbrella group known as Texans United for Families (TUFF), confirms two of the initial hunger strikers, Francisca and Amalia, have been moved to a remote majority men’s detention center in Pearsall, Texas. The organization also reports that Francisca’s family has verified that she has been placed in solitary confinement there.
Last weekend, Insis, a Garífuna woman from Honduras participating in the hunger strike, was placed in “medical solitary confinement” for two days. Read more about Women Face Retaliation at Texas Detention Center Following Hunger Strike
(AUSTIN, Texas) — Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter early this week to Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, who has limited her department’s cooperation with federal immigration authorities, saying her policy “leaves the State no choice but to take whatever actions are necessary to protect our fellow Texans.”
Recently officials in Austin and Travis County have taken steps to end cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Travis County Jail, in response to years-long outcry in Travis County over deportations here. Read more about Texas Gov. Abbott threatens counties that limit cooperation with federal immigration agents
WHAT: Rally to #LetSulmaStay
WHO: Sulma Franco and supporters from the faith communities in Austin and San Antonio
WHEN: Tuesday, August 18 at 12:15 p.m.
WHERE: Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office, 8940 Fourwinds Dr, Windcrest, TX (San Antonio)
(SAN ANTONIO, Texas) — On Tuesday, Sulma Franco, who has been taking sanctuary from deportation in the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin since June 11, will travel to San Antonio to submit her application for a stay of deportation in person. Read more about Rally planned to stop deportation of LGBTQ activist
Diversas organizaciones que velan por los derechos de las personas encarceladas y los inmigrantes exigieron el jueves 6 a los comisionados del condado de Travis que elaboren lo que denominaron un presupuesto ‘justo’ y que incluya dos peticiones por las que han luchado por años.
Durante una conferencia de prensa celebrada en la Corte de Comisionados del Condado de Travis, voceros de Grassroots Leadership, Texas Criminal Justice Coalition y de la campaña ICE Out of Austin pidieron que se reinstalen las visitas personales a internos de la cárcel local y que se elimine la colaboración entre la Oficina del Alguacil y el Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas (ICE).
“Estamos aquí para decirles (a los comisionados) que esperamos que vayan a trabajar en lo que les hemos solicitado, un verdadero presupuesto justo”, dijo Kymberlie Quong, de Grassroots Leadership.
“Nosotros pensamos que usar el dinero del condado de Travis para separar a las familias, ya sea por deportación o por hacer que vean a sus seres queridos por un video, es terrible, es incorrecto”, dijo durante la conferencia Alejandro Cáceres, gerente de la campaña ICE Out of Austin. Read more about Activistas presionan a comisionados de Travis por presupuesto
(AUSTIN, Texas) — At a press conference today, the #LetSulmaStay campaign released a letter with signatures from over 60 active members and leaders of faith communities around the country, saying, “We write today to say that we want Sulma [Franco] to stay. Not only does Sulma not meet ICE priority removal requirements, but by forcing her into sanctuary ICE has ensured that she cannot provide for her own material needs. Read more about 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
(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
Corrections, justice, and public safety are three of the largest parts of the Travis County budget. Travis County has a responsibility to provide safety and security to all its residents. Read more about Sign the petition! Support real justice in the Travis County budget
"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.'
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