21 Mar STATEMENT: Evidence shows ICE actions in Central Texas were retaliation for pro-immigrant policies

 

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Contact: Melissa Martinez, Communications Coordinator
Phone: 512.474.5073 ext. 110
Email: melissa@texascivilrightsproject.org

STATEMENT: Evidence shows ICE actions in Central Texas were retaliation for pro-immigrant policies

Austin, TX – Initial claims by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that recent operations in Central Texas were routine — and not politically motivated — were contradicted in open court yesterday, according to a new report by the Austin American-Statesman.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Austin revealed that federal agents privately gave advance warning to two judges that they would be targeting the Austin community for a major operation in retribution for Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez’s new policy limiting local police entanglement with federal immigration authorities.

This revelation gives credence to legal and constitutional concerns raised by members of the Central Texas community when the raids were conducted in early February. In response to such concerns, the Texas Civil Rights Project along with Workers Defense Project and Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to federal law enforcement officials on February 15, 2017 which is still outstanding.

This new evidence underscores the importance of these FOIA requests. The community deserves to know the full story behind the immigration raids in Central Texas — including who should be held responsible.

Mimi Marziani, Executive Director of the Texas Civil Rights Project, said:

“We now have evidence that ICE’s initial public statements about the February raids were not accurate. The notion that governmental actors would use immigration authorities to ‘punish’ political adversaries is wildly disturbing — especially because our community was caught in the crossfire. With our allies at the Workers Defense Project and Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund, we are committed to ensuring that ICE reveals the full facts behind the apprehensions in Central Texas.

Immigration law and policy may change, but the U.S. Constitution’s due process protections endure and protect everyone, regardless of their immigration status. Our legal team is committed to defending our immigrant communities against constitutional violations and upholding the rule of law.”

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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.