The idea of sanctuary city Austin is taking shape amid a series of raids aimed at undocumented immigrants and the targeting of the sheriff’s department by the Texas governor.
Major raids intended to round up undocumented immigrants have taken place across the country including in the Texas state capital.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) started a series of raids in February in Austin when they rounded up dozens of undocumented immigrants.
ICE said the operation was part of a planned sting aimed at targeting people who pose a threat to public safety, border security or the integrity of America’s immigration system.
The skyline of downtown Austin
In an interview with NPR, Austin mayor Steve Adler expressed his commitment to the idea of sanctuary city Austin.
Adler pointed out raids took place across the country in places where law enforcement officers don’t necessarily cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
He said it was right that suspects who are picked up by police in Austin should not be quizzed on their immigrant status. He said.
“Victims in our community feel free to come forward and seek help from our public safety, regardless of who they are. Witnesses to events and to crimes feel safe coming to our police because they know they can do that safely … what our police and our professionals tell us is, is that if they’re going to keep this community safe, they have to be able to preserve that relationship.”
The idea of sanctuary city Austin has been ratcheted up in a war of words between Texas governor Greg Abbott and Sally Hernandez, the new Democratic sheriff in Travis County.
War of Words Defines Sanctuary City Austin
Soon after her election, Hernandez kept a campaign pledge to scale back help to federal immigration agents by detaining suspects who may be in the country illegally.
Hernandez says she’ll only cooperate if a detainee is arrested for serious crimes like murder, sexual assault or human trafficking.
Abbott said he would withhold funding to Travis County unless the policies are reversed.
The Texas governor told Hernandez that if she does not reverse her policy Travis County will be disqualified from receiving grant money from the Criminal Justice Division (CJD).
Texas lawmakers are supporting a bill that would cut state funding to “sanctuary cities,” or those with policies or rules that impede federal agents apprehending people who may be in the country illegally.
If you are facing potential deportation, please call our Austin immigration lawyers today at ((512) 399-2311