(AUSTIN, Texas) — We applaud Sheriff Greg Hamilton’s recognition that our criminal justice system is “not functioning as it should” as he called today for more to be done to end mass incarceration. Specifically, the sheriff said that the United States spends too much money incarcerating too many people, and the result does not increase public safety. Indeed, according to the NAACP, $70 billion are spent yearly on corrections. This expensive criminal justice system does not serve taxpayers and disproportionately impacts people of color. Read more about Grassroots Leadership applauds efforts to reduce mass incarceration in Travis County
"One of the underpinnings of Rick Perry’s long-shot bid for president is that his 14 years of governing a state with a 1,200-mile border with Mexico gives him unique authority on immigration issues.
Then, less than a month ago, real estate mogul Donald Trump entered the race with what seemed a few ill-chosen words on the subject and stormed to the front of the crowded GOP pack, his position strengthened by the tragic July 1 shooting death in San Francisco of 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle, allegedly by Francisco Sanchez, a five-time deportee from Mexico who eluded being deported a sixth time because he found himself in a 'sanctuary city.'
Bob Libal, executive director of the Austin office of Grassroots Leadership, which backs sanctuary policies, said that no community in Texas fits that description of a sanctuary city.
'We are not a sanctuary city,' said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. At the same time, Acevedo said, 'Most major city police chiefs believe that in an era of limited resources, we are not immigration agents, we’re not ICE.'
The crucial distinction between San Francisco and Austin is that Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton, who runs the jail, cooperates with ICE when they ask that a prisoner they suspect of being in the country illegally be detained for extra time, while the sheriff in San Francisco does not." Read more about Rick Perry reprises sanctuary cities issue on a national stage
"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'
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
On Thursday, April 10, President Barack Obama will attend a meeting commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act in Austin, Texas, along with three former U.S. Presidents — Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, the event's organizers said on Monday. The Civil Rights Summit, slated from Tuesday to Thursday, is organized by the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library located on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.
Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton says it all comes down to one word: “shall.”
Hamilton has been tweeting in response to our coverage of a letter from ICE Acting Director Daniel H. Ragsdale in which Ragsdale clarifies that immigration detainers are “are not mandatory as a matter of law.”
Hamilton has been a vocal supporter of complying with ICE detainer requests. He has called detainers “mandatory” and “the law.” After reading about the letter from Ragsdale, the Sheriff changed his tune... but only slightly.Read more about Travis County Sheriff Evolves Position on Immigration Detainers, Is Still Wrong