Austin

Local faith leaders come together to voice support for LGBT activist taking sanctuary in First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin

WHAT: Press conference releasing a letter from 60 clergy and people of faith to stop the deportation of Sulma Franco
WHO: Sulma Franco, Rev. Marisol Caballero (Assistant Minister, First Unitarian Universalist Church, Austin) Rev. Jim Rigby (Pastor, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Austin) Rev. Mark Skrabacz (Pastor, San Gabriel Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Georgetown), and Attorneys Alexandra Minnaar and Natalie Hansen
WHEN:   Wednesday, July 29th, 10:30am
WHERE: First Unitarian Universalist Church, 4300 Grover Ave., Austin, TX, 78756 Read more about Local faith leaders come together to voice support for LGBT activist taking sanctuary in First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin

Jul 3, 2014
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Austin Chronicle

Hamilton Digs In: Won't End 'S-Comm'

"We're very happy the City Council has taken leadership on this issue," said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership.

"Republican sheriffs in Cali­­fornia, Colorado, Kansas, rural Oregon, have said they're not going to violate people's rights and honor ICE detainers," Libal said. "It's very frustrating that the sheriff continues to demonize the immigrant community and perpetuate outright lies about them." Read more about Hamilton Digs In: Won't End 'S-Comm'

Jun 28, 2014
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TWC News

Sheriff: Deportation Program is Federally Mandated

Travis County ranks 11th in the nation when it comes to the number of people deported. A total of 4,741 people have been deported from the county in the last fiveyears.

"I think that really puts him on the wrong side of history," Bob Libal with Grassroots Leadership.

Libal said recent court decisions essentially allow jails to ignore requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain inmates. "This is devastating to the immigrant community," he said. "It also wastes taxpayer dollars, and it's illegal." Read more about Sheriff: Deportation Program is Federally Mandated

Annanda Barclay: What Is This TUFF Jazz All About anyway?

Guest blogger Annanda Barclay is a third-year student at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She is a regular volunteer with Texans United for Families (TUFF) and is a candidate for ordination in the Presbyterian Church (USA). 
 
Very rarely do you see organizations doing interpersonal and systemic work. Between the stream of visitors participating in the Hutto Visitation Program, where volunteers sit and hear the stories and form friendships with women who are seeking asylum in the United States, to the vigils, caravans, town hall meetings and press conferences that bring attention to the systemic injustice of for-profit private detention centers and deportations,TUFF is one of those unique, relevant and desperately needed organizations.
Read more about Annanda Barclay: What Is This TUFF Jazz All About anyway?

Humpday Hall of Shame: Yes, Austin. You have a deportation crisis.

People have been saying for years that there is a deportation crisis in Travis County, Texas, fueled by the federal S-Comm (Secure Communities) program in the jail. 

New data released Tuesday shows just how bad things have gotten. According to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, over the last two years ICE and Sheriff Greg Hamilton have been particularly busy rounding up Austin-area residents.  

From 2013-2014, ICE placed a total of 5,507 “holds” on individuals in Travis County Jail. A hold is a request from the federal government that the jail “hold” someone for two extra days so that ICE can come investigate. The cause for ICE’s investigation can be very flimsy. For example, if they don’t have the fingerprints on record and the individual just happens to have a Hispanic last name. It’s no small wonder they have issued thousands of holds here.

Read more about Humpday Hall of Shame: Yes, Austin. You have a deportation crisis.

Hump Day Hall of Shame: Securus video service replaces in person visits, violates attorney-client privilege in Travis County

Thanks to the Texas Civil Rights Project, Grassroots Leadership recently learned about and testified against the removal of in-person visits at the Travis County Jail. This harmful policy has limited all visiting rights to computer-based interactions even if loved ones physically visit the jail. The provider of the video conferencing technology is a private Dallas-based company, Securus, which makes $30 million each year on contracting call and video visitation services with jails and prisons.
 

The video “visitation” system, which costs $20 for 20 minutes, puts additional financial hardship on families, has a history of not working but still charging users, and has been used to violate attorney-client privilege through the recording and sharing of conversations.
Read more about Hump Day Hall of Shame: Securus video service replaces in person visits, violates attorney-client privilege in Travis County>

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