Austin Bill of Rights Defense

City officials and local law enforcement should not assist federal authorities in discrimination against immigrants, sneak-and-peek searches of people's homes, and other constitutionally questionable activities, say members of the Austin Bill of Rights Defense Committee. The group, a subcommittee of Austin Against War, plans to lobby the Austin City Council to pass a resolution similar to those already approved in over 20 municipalities nationwide, including Denver, Flagstaff, Detroit, and Ann Arbor.

Coordinator Mac McKaskle says group members are distributing petitions and lobbying council members to get such a resolution on the agenda. He says two council members have expressed interest, including Mayor Pro Tem Jackie Goodman. A council resolution might "improve the cases" of people who believe their civil liberties have been violated under Homeland Security legislation, executive orders, and the USA PATRIOT Act by sending a message that such laws won't be tolerated, he said. "People are just very angry and upset," he said, "but they're also scared and they don't know how to change something that's so big. People are opposed but not very optimistic about getting things back where they belong."

McKaskle says the feds' actions have hampered the committee's efforts to recruit local Middle Eastern and Arab Austinites. "People are scared. There's a very literal meaning of the term ... When people are scared to speak in their own country, it's terror." In recent weeks, the feds' ethnic profiling has caused protest nationwide, most notably after reports of mass arrests in Los Angeles of Middle Eastern immigrants who voluntarily came to an INS office in order to comply with post-Sept. 11 regulations.

For more on the national Bill of Rights Defense Committee, visit www.bordc.org; to contact the Austin chapter, e-mail abordc@yahoo.com.

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at austinchronicle.com/opinion.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More by Lauri Apple
Will Council Take a Stand on PATRIOT Act?
Will Council Take a Stand on PATRIOT Act?
Mayor Pro Tem Jackie Goodman's pro-civil-liberties resolution stalls on the dais

Aug. 15, 2003

With Minimal Drama, Saltillo Project Lurches Forward
With Minimal Drama, Saltillo Project Lurches Forward
Capital Metro hires a planner and appoints community advisors for the rail-yard redevelopment

Aug. 8, 2003

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle