Austin Coalition Calls on Travis County Sheriff's Office to Restore Trust, Counter Arizona-Style Policies in Austin

July 10, 2012

National Restoring Trust Campaign Seeks Local Alternative to SB 1070 and Pushes Back Against Controversial Secure Communities Program

WHAT: Press conference and protest calling on Sheriff's office to restore trust with immigrant community

WHEN: Wednesday, July 11th, 2012, 12:00 p.m.

WHERE: Travis County Sheriff's Office, 5555 Airport Blvd, Austin, Texas, 78751-1410

WHO: Members of the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition, Worker's Defense Project, University Leadership Initiative, Grassroots Leadership, ACLU of Texas, Detention Watch Network, Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, the Equal Justice Center and a broad coalition of community and faith representatives, including those directly affected by Travis County's deportation policies.

In the wake of the Supreme Court decision, Arizona v. United States, Travis County residents are calling upon local officials to champion local alternatives to Arizona-style policies to restore trust between law enforcement and immigrant communities. As Alabama, Georgia, and Arizona take the country in one direction, a broad coalition of Austin organizations are calling on Travis County to set a different tone.

The press conference is part of National Week of Action in which more than 12 cities will address the impact of the Secure Communities program on public safety and families, occurring just days after the California senate passed an “anti-Arizona” bill called the TRUST Act, and on the day the Washington DC council is set to enact similar legislation."

“We want Travis County officials to create a bright line between local police and immigration authorities. Secure Communities has made us all less safe by destroying any trust immigrant communities could have in police. We want to restore that trust by breaking ICE’s hold on our town.” Explains the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition. “Our families belong together. It’s police and ICE that should be separated.”

Specifically, advocates are calling on Travis County officials to join a trend of municipalities responding to their forced participation in the Secure Communities program by passing legislation that creates minimum standards for how and when to respond to voluntary hold requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and that develops safeguards against racial profiling and the exploitation of local resources to fulfill a federal level program that is often damaging to the local community.

A 2012 report from the University of California, Berkeley Law School detailed that Secure Communities encourages racial profiling and pretextual arrests, targets low-level offenders, and disproportionately impacts Latino communities.

Cook County, Illinois, Santa Clara, California, Washington, DC, the State of Connecticut and others have created model legislation to counter federal deportation programs that are leading to the “Arizonification” of the country. The Restoring Trust campaign introduces the new website as a resource about the issue for local elected leaders, law enforcement leaders, and other concerned stakeholders.