WHAT: Rally Against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions during visit to Austin
WHO: Grassroots Leadership, Austin Sanctuary Network, community members, immigrants rights advocates, and others
WHEN: Friday, October 20, 2017 at 10:00 AM
WHERE: U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas \ 816 Congress Avenue, Suite 1000 Austin, Texas 78701
(AUSTIN, Texas) — On Friday morning, community members will rally to oppose the policies of Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his visit to Austin. The rally will also elevate the Austin community’s priorities to protect U.S.-born and immigrant communities of color, transgender people, and “Sanctuary Cities” against Sessions’ agenda.
The policies of the Department of Justice (DOJ) under Sessions are already extreme and attack various communities. The DOJ agenda under Sessions already includes reviving the War on Drugs, increasing migrant prosecutions, removing workplace protections for LGBT people, and a fixation on so-called “Black identity extremists” in the FBI.
Sessions plans to speak at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas on the Trump administration's immigration priorities.
In his testimony before Congress on October 18, Sessions threatened to take away federal funding from Sanctuary Cities that limit local cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. As the legal battle over the racial profiling bill SB 4 continues in Texas, the community stands unified against threats from local, state, and federal officials who fail to protect their constituents.
“We know that the real reason Sessions is coming is to defy the Austin community as we are fighting to ensure that Austin is a Sanctuary City for all,” said Claudia Muñoz, immigration programs director at Grassroots Leadership. “Even as we continue to be attacked by Paxton, Abbott, and the Trump administration, we will show Sessions that he will not break us and we will resist any and all steps he takes against us. He is not welcome in our city.”
Trump’s deportation force has become unchained and acting with impunity under the direction of Jeff Sessions at the Department of Justice. The agency’s termination of the DACA program, massive raids under “Operation Safe City,” planned restrictions on asylum cases including imposing numeric quotas for immigration judges, and recently announced solicitations for more private detention centers represent the greatest threats to safety for the immigrant community.
A memo released in April called for crackdowns on immigrant communities in a system that is already at historically high levels of migrant prosecutions. Sessions has also eliminated workplace protections for transgender people in the workplace, endorsed seizure of people’s property by police, revived the failed War on Drugs, and endorsed law-and-order policing despite evidence that more policing does not decrease crime.
The rally outside the U.S. Attorney’s Office on Congress Ave. will present the community’s priorities for justice, including accountability and transparency for law and immigration enforcement.
Jorge Renaud, Texas Advocate for Justice organizer at Grassroots Leadership, explains, “Under Sessions, the Department of Justice has taken liberty to attack not only the immigrant community but also expand the disastrous war on drugs that has purposely devastated the Black and Brown communities, as well as boosting the for profit incarcerations while maintaining folks in cages. We rally to defy Sessions, defend our rights, and expand Sanctuary for all persons who this administration has targeted. We will not let his white supremacist agenda prevent us from upholding dignity and justice in Austin.”
Attorney General Jeff Session was confirmed in February despite serious concerns over allegations that he is a white supremacist.
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Grassroots Leadership is an Austin, Texas-based national organization that works for a more just society where prison profiteering, mass incarceration, deportation and criminalization are things of the past.