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Austin City Council Members Take On Immigration

Updated: Thursday, June 26 2014, 06:36 PM CDT

Austin City Council members are taking a stand against a program that identifies jail inmates for possible deportation.

City leaders want the Travis County Sheriff's Office to stop honoring immigration detainers.

Auxilio Alcantara says she rarely leaves her home. The 76-year old woman came to the United States to live with her children.

She says her immigration status has her living in fear of deportation.

Auxilio is just one example of why council members are proposing a resolution against the U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement's Secure Communities Program.

It identifies jail inmates for possible deportation.

"It takes a toll on broken families, it erodes trust in law enforcement and policing efforts, it's costing the taxpayers and it's not an effective mechanism in taking serious criminals off the street," says City Council Member Laura Morrison.

The Travis County Sheriff's Office argues it has no choice -- but opponents of S-Comm say the department does not have to honor ice detainer requests.

"That's what we are asking for is to not detain people 48 hours after they are supposed to be released so that immigration can come and pick them up," says Alejandro Caceres, the director of the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition.

If the resolution is passed, the next step is to get a resolution passed at the county level.

But from what Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton has told us in the past that won't matter.

In past interviews Sheriff Hamilton has said even if an ordinance is passed at the county level he would keep honoring the detainers anyway.

By Lydia Pantazes

Austin City Council Members Take On Immigration


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