“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.

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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

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