Travis County Groups Deliver Letter Opposing Controversial Immigration Enforcement Program (Grassroots Leadership)

Travis County Groups Deliver Letter Opposing Controversial Immigration Enforcement Program

Coalition Calls for Halt to Secure Communities Program at Dallas Task Force Hearings

Austin, Texas – A coalition of 17 Travis County civil and human rights groups today will deliver a letter to a Department of Homeland Security Task Force meeting calling for the termination of the controversial immigration enforcement program “Secure Communities.”  A PDF of the letter is available here.

“This program and other programs that combine local law enforcement and immigration enforcement, have resulted in record numbers of deportations,” said coalition representative Bob Libal of Grassroots Leadership. “The programs have undermined community trust in local law enforcement, deterring victims and witnesses from reporting crime and reducing the public safety of our communities.”

The coalition criticizes the program’s lack of transparency. “The Secure Communities program lacks appropriate oversight and transparency,” said Esther Reyes of the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition. “Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s unilateral announcement last week that it would no longer honor memorandums of understanding with states and localities and refuse requests of jurisdictions to opt-out of the program demonstrates that the agency is not receptive to local concerns about the program.”

The letter recommends the termination of the Secure Communities program.  Alternatively, it calls on Homeland Security to “suspend the Secure Communities program pending the completion of the Inspector General audits currently being undertaken by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice.”

Organizations signing the letter include: ACLU of Texas, American Gateways, Austin Center for Peace & Justice, Austin Tan Cerca de la Frontera, Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition, Detention Watch Network, Equal Justice Center, Grassroots Leadership, LULAC District 12, PODER, Texans United for Families, Texans for Peace, Texas Civil Rights Project, Texas Jail Project, Texas State Conference of NAACP Branches, University Leadership Initiative, and Workers Defense Project.