For Immediate Release:
February 15, 2017
Contact: Sam Robles
Workers Defense Project, allies file Freedom of Information Act request on ICE activity
Federal raids follow opposition to harsher, anti-immigration policies in Travis and Dallas County
Immigration authorities lie about immigration enforcement priorities
Texas is ground zero for attacks on immigrant families
AUSTIN, TX – Today, the Workers Defense Project (WDP), Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP) , and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for emails and records that relate to the recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids targeting immigrants and their families in Texas.
This request seeks to determine whether these raids, orchestrated by ICE and The White House, were politically motivated, or in response to Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez’s decision to change her office’s policy and stop complying with requests made by ICE to detain individuals for possible deportation.
“Texas residents deserve to know whether federal and state leaders are playing politics with the lives of immigrant families, and hurting local Texas law enforcement efforts in the process. These attacks on immigrant families have come immediately after community opposition to decisions made by state and federal officials that will make our communities less safe,” said Jose P. Garza, Executive Director of the Workers Defense Project. “Immigrant families are the backbone of the Texas economy. We need immigration policies at the state and local level that keep our community safe and ensure the Texas businesses and economy thrive.”
ICE and other officials have stated that these raids are a routine “enforcement surge” that only focuses on those with criminal records, however there have been reports of family members being picked up by immigration authorities without warrants or verifying detainee information.
“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,” said Efrén C. Olivares, Racial & Economic Justice Director with the Texas Civil Rights Project. “If the immigration raids were politically motivated, these actions raise serious legal and constitutional concerns that must be addressed.”
Community groups in the Austin and Dallas area are providing families with “Know your rights” trainings and legal resources in the event that they or a family member are detained by ICE.
FOIA Letter can be found here.