“Troubling Data” From APD on ICE

Austin police assisted or cooperated with immigration officials nearly 600 times between January and December 2018


Council Member Greg Casar being arrested for protesting SB 4 in 2017 (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Following the enactment of anti-immigrant Senate Bill 4, passed in 2017 and upheld in court in 2018, the Austin Police Department has assisted or cooperated with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) nearly 600 times between January and December 2018. Police Chief Brian Manley presented the information to Council last Friday (March 1) as required by the city's Freedom Cities policy adopted in June 2018.

The information shared with ICE about individuals includes utility reports, license plate readings, insurance reports, and phone subscriptions. "This report, released with almost no context on a Friday afternoon, contains troubling data that could reveal a widespread pattern of cooperation between Austin law enforcement and ICE," said José P. Garza, executive director of the Workers Defense Action Fund. "Austinites deserve an explanation. We call on [APD] to immediately provide clarity on the policies and circumstances that lead to the sharing of the data detailed in the report." Council Member Greg Casar said the report "clearly shows" why immigrants describe being scared of interacting with police or government. "These instances of ICE collaboration may have been forced by SB 4; some of them may reflect a misuse of the city's power to support deportations," he said.

Following up on Monday (March 4), Manley said, "We have a team reviewing each incident and will report back to the mayor and Council, and the community, when we have completed our review," he said. "In the meantime, we ask that the community continue to come forward if you have been victimized or witnessed someone else being victimized, regardless of your immigration status. Our commitment to public safety, and to your safety, is not contingent upon your status." The next report is due June 1.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 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 immigration
Austin Struggles to Adjust as SB 4 Takes Its Toll on Immigrants
Austin Struggles to Adjust as SB 4 Takes Its Toll on Immigrants
"We are not safer as a community when victims are running away from us rather than coming to us."

Mary Tuma, April 5, 2019

T. Don Hutto Detention Center Still Open
T. Don Hutto Detention Center Still Open
Controversial private prison contracts directly with ICE to house women seeking asylum

Mary Tuma, March 1, 2019

More by Mary Tuma
Ken Paxton Puts the Brakes on Federal Inquiry Into Debunked Voter Fraud Claims
Ken Paxton Puts the Brakes on Federal Inquiry Into Debunked Voter Fraud Claims
A.G. tells Congress to wait in line

April 19, 2019

Bill That Could Put Up Barriers to Voting Passes Texas Senate
Bill That Could Put Up Barriers to Voting Passes Texas Senate

April 19, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

immigration, Senate Bill 4, Austin Police, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, Brian Manley, José P. Garza, Workers Defense Action Fund, Greg Casar

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

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

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