(AUSTIN, Texas) — In response to the Supreme Court decision in Texas vs US, the case of 26 Republican governors suing to block the deferred action programs announced in November 2014, immigrant communities in Austin are calling on local leaders here to go as far as possible to end deportations in Austin and Travis County. They join immigrant communities around the U.S. in calling for President Obama and DHS to take further action to stop deportations and for his potential successors to take up their call.
With the news of the ruling, the ICE out of Austin campaign reaffirmed its call for the separation of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Austin Police Department. APD does not have official policies preventing officers from asking people about their immigration status and for several years Travis County had one of the highest rates of deportations in all of the United States.
Local politicians can take action to separate themselves from this disappointing Supreme Court ruling and the administration’s shameful lack of action on deportations. Many politicians have shown support to the immigrant community be saying they support DAPA/DACA yet have not acted locally. “What good is it now that local politicians have shown support for DAPA/DACA knowing that their local support would not affect the final decision?” says Carmen Zuvieta from the ICE out Campaign. “If they want to show actual support they need to do everything in their power to stop the deportations here locally. We need our politicians to take a practical step forward to end deportations locally and not just support in a politically convenient way”
With local police collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) continuing, the Travis County Sheriff’s department continuing to participate in Priority Enforcement program, as well as the spectre of a possible Trump Presidency, national groups are saying it would be reckless for President Obama to pass the current immigration system onto the next President whoever that will be without taking major steps to halt deportations and address abuse.
“Today, Austin and Travis County residents are more angry than fearful. We are tired of waiting to have justice in this country, we are tired of being used as political pawns. We are joining the national call on the President and his potential successor to stop the deportations. He needs to take real action towards immigration before he leaves office or his legacy will be forever be as Deporter-in-Chief,,” said Alejandro Caceres, manager of the ICE out of Austin campaign.
As part of the #Not1More campaign, ICE out of Austin has launched a petition to the President available at https://action.mijente.net/petitions/no-dapa-no-deportations.
Marisa Franco, #Not1More campaign director, reacted, “The way to keep communities from living in fear is to put a freeze on deportations. It doesn’t take a new program for the President to direct his agents to investigate civil rights violations as vigorously as it currently hunts our loved ones. With the courts also taken over by the party politics that have ruled the immigration issue for more than a decade, President Obama has a responsibility to pursue alternatives to make his policies more humane.”
“It is never enough to divide our community into those who deserve relief and those who don’t,” explains Tania Unzueta, Legal and Policy Director for #Not1More. “Under President Obama we have witnessed the creation of a parallel mass incarceration system strictly for immigrants. The relief offered by expanding deferred action is desperately needed and entirely constitutional. But even with DAPA, only a fraction of us would be protected. With it now blocked, many more of us still face the threat of the deportation machine that it is incumbent on President Obama to begin to dismantle.”
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Grassroots Leadership is an Austin, Texas-based national organization that works to end prison profiteering and reduce reliance on criminalization and detention through direct action, organizing, research, and public education.
ICE Out of Austin Contact: Alejandro Caceres , firstname.lastname@example.org, 512-499-8111 or 512-703-7059
MIJENTE Contact: B. Loewe, #Not1More, 773.791.4668, email@example.com