15 Feb RELEASE: Organizations file FOIA request in response to ICE arrests in Texas
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Contact: Zenén Jaimes Pérez, Communications Director
Phone: 512.474.5073 ext. 116
RELEASE: Organizations file FOIA request in response to ICE arrests in Texas
Enforcement efforts follow new local policies limiting collaboration with federal immigration agency
Austin, Texas — Civil and immigrant rights groups on Tuesday filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for emails and other records related to recent enforcement efforts by Immigration and Customs Enforcements, or ICE.
The request was filed by the Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP), Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), and Workers Defense Project (WDP).
The organizations seek to determine if officials at the federal agency or the White House corresponded with state officials ahead of the immigration raids to coordinate, as well as whether these ICE actions were in any way retaliatory.
In Texas, ICE enforcement efforts come on the heels of Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez announcing a policy reforming her department’s cooperation with discretionary ICE detainer requests and Dallas County Commissioners adopting a “Welcoming Communities” resolution calling for an end to non essential collaborations with ICE. Several federal courts have found some ICE detainer practices to be unconstitutional in other parts of the country.
ICE and other officials have stated that these efforts are part of a routine “enforcement surge.” However, the wave of apprehensions in Texas are unlike anything that advocates have seen in many years.
Efrén C. Olivares, Racial & Economic Justice Director with the Texas Civil Rights Project, said:
“We are ready and prepared with the legal tools necessary to defend our immigrant communities. This means we must reveal the facts that led to the wave of apprehensions in Texas. If the immigration raids were politically motivated, these actions raise serious legal and constitutional concerns that must be addressed.
Community members must know that due process protects everyone, regardless of their immigration status. Being undocumented does not mean you can be thrown out of the country without due process or thrown in jail for no reason. We will stand with our immigrant communities to make sure their rights are upheld.”
Related resources: Link to FOIA request
The Texas Civil Rights Project uses legal advocacy to empower Texas communities and create policy change. In its twenty-five year history, TCRP has brought thousands of strategic lawsuits, defending voting rights, fighting institutional discrimination, and reforming systems of criminal justice. Today — with dozens of high-caliber attorneys and professionals in Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Houston and the Rio Grande Valley, and an extensive network of pro bono counsel and community allies — TCRP is among the most influential civil rights organizations in the Lone Star State.