Austin Sanctuary Network
"Me siento muy contento y agradecido por toda la gente que me está apoyando mucho. Sinceramente les digo que no puedo regresar a mi país, porque el momento que regreso, estoy en riesgo de perder mi vida. Esta petición de nuestra campaña es importante para parar mi deportación." - Alirio Gámez, Oct. 3, 2017
I remain heartened by the defiant response of our community here in Austin to the ending of DACA. We’ve been standing with University Leadership Initiative, with United We Dream, and with undocumented students who have DACA and who don’t have DACA, for years. We’re outraged by the actions of bullies like Donald Trump, Ken Paxton, Jeff Sessions, Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick who have tried to terrorize these communities for months now. [node:read-more:link]
Austin's Sanctuary leader Alirio was featured in Texas Observer with Grassroots staff member Alejandro Caceres. "Rather than submit to Trump’s deportation machine, Alirio Gámez went to church. On Tuesday, the 40-year-old Salvadoran announced to a group of faith leaders, elected officials and activists that he had decided to live inside Austin’s First Unitarian Universalist Church until his pending expulsion is halted. [...] For Gámez, the Austin Sanctuary Network plans to recruit elected officials to the cause and pressure ICE’s San Antonio field office through calls, petitions and personal visits, according to organizer Alejandro Caceres. Asked whether he thought they’d succeed, Gámez merely replied: 'We’re gonna fight.'" [node:read-more:link]
Grassroots Leadership is glad to welcome Elizabeth Welliver to its Austin staff. Elizabeth joins Grassroots as the fifth Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) to serve with the immigration team since 2012. The Young Adult Volunteer program with the Presbyterian Church (USA) offers the opportunity for young adults to serve for one year alongside local partners while practicing simple living, vocational discernment, intentional Christian community, cross-cultural mission, and leadership development. [node:read-more:link]
Texas Department of Public Safety officers handcuffed then released at least 18 activists, including CM Greg Casar and Austin Pastor Jim Rigby, after they refused to leave the governor’s offices today. Following an all-day sit-in and protest against anti-immigrant bill SB 4, DPS officers forced journalists to exit the building when it closed at 5pm or face arrest, and blocked the entrance.
Inside, officers gave the protestors a verbal warning then began issuing Class B misdemeanor citations for criminal trespassing. Those that did not leave after being cited were tied with plastic cuffs and processed by Judge Nicholas Chu. Event organizers said DPS officers “lied” by telling protesters their attorneys were not allowed in, a rule contradicted by Chu. Just before 7pm, the protestors were released from cuffs by DPS and addressed a growing crowd outside.
Early Monday morning, during a brief press conference organized by Grassroots Leadership at the south gates of the Capitol, Rigby delivered a message to his undocumented neighbors: “We love you and want you here. We would rather suffer by your side than be guilty bystanders to the cruel and undemocratic tyranny of this administration.”
Afterward, protestors marched with handmade signs to the steps of the governor’s office. They entered and took a defiant seat in the middle of the lobby, announcing they would not budge until Abbott kills the bill. The group chanted: “SB 4 is hate! SB 4 is racist!” and “The people united will never be divided!” in between songs and speeches that castigated the legislation as “unconstitutional” and “unjust.” The sit-in, organized by Grassroots Leadership, RAICES, ICE Out of Austin, Sanctuary in the Streets, and Austin Sanctuary Network, began at roughly 10am.
After roughly one hour, protestors linked arm-in-arm and blocked both entrances of the building. Immigration attorneys started leading teach-ins about the impact of SB 4 around 1pm. Texas Department of Public Safety officers, while watching the event, have yet to threaten arrest. [node:read-more:link]
Roughly 100 people occupied the lobby of the state office building that houses the governor's office Monday demanding Gov. Greg Abbott veto a bill that would allow law enforcement officers across the state to inquire about individuals' citizenship.
With many wearing t-shirts calling for the rejection of the controversial Senate Bill 4 -- the "sanctuary cities" measure -- that passed the Texas House last week, the crowd sang and chanted in Spanish and English phrases like "You shall not pass" and "this entrance is closed" as they locked arms to block people from entering the building.
"SB4 is racist," they chanted as a woman shook a set of green maracas.
They said they planned to stay in the lobby of the building until the governor acquiesces to their request, he rejects the bill or until they forcibly are removed.
"They're going to have to drag us out of here or lock us in the building at the end of the day. We're not leaving," said Cristina Parker, an organizer with Grassroots Leadership, a group focused on detention and deportation.
The sit-in was put on by Grassroots Leadership and RAICES, a refugee and immigration education and legal advocacy group. [node:read-more:link]