#Not1More Deportation

Austin Shuts Down Travis County Jail to Halt Deportations

Immigrant Rights Supporters Chain Themselves Together to Protest Policy Resulting in 19 Immigrants Deported Every Week.

UPDATE: The protesters were pulled inside by law enforcement at 8:30 Austin time.

Watch the entire action here

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Where: Travis County Jail, 500 W. 10th Street, Austin, Texas

(Austin, Texas) – Days after launching their campaign against Secure Communities, or S-Comm, Austin immigrant rights advocates are blocking the doors of the Travis County Jail where immigrants are transported for deportation.

Protesters have chained themselves together in front of the exit authorities use to transfer detained undocumented immigrants to the Federal Building where they are held for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under the Secure Communities (S-Comm) program.

According to data from ICE, an average of 19 immigrants per week have been deported from the county after being booked at the jail since the onset of S-Comm in 2009. The vast majority have been charged with only small crimes. Protesters want the Travis County Sheriff’s office to revisit its S-Comm enforcement policy and stop the deportation of members of the immigrant community.

Rocio Villalobos is one of the chained protesters, “The separation of families and ongoing deportations are a human rights violation. I want Sheriff Hamilton and our County Commissioners to reconsider the impact of S-Comm and put an end to a program destroying communities.”

According to data from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the vast majority of immigrants deported from Travis County were not convicted of serious crimes, many having committed not criminal offense or minor offenses such as driving without a license or expired registration stickers.

“The criminalization of our immigrant community must stop. When our local police force focuses on detaining and deporting non-criminal hardworking members of our community, they are not only separating families, they are also diverting time and financial resources from addressing real dangerous crime,” says Alejandro Caceres, Executive Director of the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition.

According to a 2013 report from the Texas Commission on jail standards, the cost for holding an immigrant in the Travis County jail is $106.05 dollars per day with Travis County shouldering the cost associated with detaining immigrants through the S-Comm program.

Cities across the country, including Newark, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New Orleans, and Washington D.C, have rejected S-Comm citing the erosion of public trust, unfair criminalization of local communities, and unwillingness to allow DHS to federalize the local police departments.

Protesters are asking that Travis County officials stand with other progressive municipalities across the country and stop holding immigrants under the S-Comm policy.

“We want Travis County officials to know we will continue our campaign until the unfair and unjust practices of S-Comm are stopped,” says Caceres. “Travis County should be a progressive leader and adopt a policy, in partnership with the immigrant community, similar to that of the Newark, NJ where local police will not hold immigrants on behalf of ICE.”

Immigrant rights advocates met with the office of Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton last week where a request to halt deportations and review the effectiveness of the Secure Communities program in Travis County was rejected.

Follow live on twitter at #Not1More and via livestream at: http://www.notonemoredeportation.com/2014/02/03/austin/

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Lindsay

Lindsay J. Porter: ‘I’m here today in support of the Austin immigrant community. Separating families is wrong. When we hurt one family we hurt the entire community.

Nancy

Nancy Rodriguez: “I am an immigrant and even though I have legal status I know people who are undocumented. They aren’t criminals. They are hardworking individuals who have built this country. I want the deportations of innocent people to stop.

Maribel Falcon

Maribel Falcon:  “Today is about the thousands of families who are affected everyday by unjust policies such as S-Comm. As concerned citizens we cannot allow our communities to be torn apart and allow the deportations to continue. A city as progressive as Austin should be ashamed to have one of the highest rates of deportations in the country.”

Rocio

Rocio Villalobos, Texas United for Families: “The separation of families and ongoing deportations are a human rights violation. I want sheriff Hamilton and county commissioners to reconsider the impact of a S-Comm and put an end to a program destroying communities.”

Piper

Piper Madison, Presbyterians for Just Immigration: “I believe that all of God’s children should be treated with dignity and compassion. I want Sheriff Hamilton to stop policies like S-Comm that jeopardize our community.”

Cristina

Cristina Parker, Grassroots Leadership: “I’m putting myself at risk of arrest today because it is an absolute disgrace that we have one of the highest deportations rates in the country in Austin. When 19 people disappear from our community every day, when it’s not even this bad in Arizona, then it’s time for us to do whatever we can — including blocking the jail doors — to stop the deportations from Travis County. “

 

 
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