AUSTIN — Today immigration advocates sent a letter to the Williamson County Commissioners Court calling for the termination of the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office 287(g) program with ICE. The current agreement is set to expire at the end of this month, on June 30. Under 287(g), Williamson County Sheriff’s Office delegates officers to be trained and authorized to identify and process detained immigrants for removal on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Williamson is one of 75 counties in the nation, 25 in Texas, with similar 287(g) agreements, all of which are set to expire June 30. All of the Texas agreements have been created during Trump’s presidency.
The Williamson County agreement, signed February 2018, was never brought before the Commissioners Court for approval despite guidance from the Texas Supreme Court and analysis from the Texas Attorney General states that the Commissioners Court is the governing body and has sole authority to enter contracts for the county, absent a specific statute to the contrary. There is no item currently on the Commissioners Court agenda Tuesday June 25 regarding the 287(g) agreement despite its imminent expiration.
In the letter, advocates call on Commissioners to end Williamson County Sheriff’s Office participation in the 287(g) program by instructing the Sheriff’s Office to allow it to expire at the end of this month. The letter also calls on Commissioners to assure residents that the Williamson County values the safety of immigrant residents by committing not to assist ICE in any upcoming enforcement operations.
“Williamson County has an opportunity to stop spending its limited public safety resources on the failed 287(g) policy that separates families over minor offenses and terrorizes immigrant residents. At a time where the Administration has announced massive immigration raids, it is more important than ever that immigrant residents know whether they can rely on Commissioners to protect their families and communities” said Bob Libal, Executive Director at Grassroots Leadership.
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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. Follow us @Grassroots_News.
Bethany Carson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 512-499-8111
Bob Libal, email@example.com, 512-499-8111