This afternoon, reports began circulating that Immigration and Customs Enforcement(ICE) may be currently conducting an operation in Travis County. Consideration of whether the timing is a simply remarkable coincidence, given the fact that the Texas Senate hearing on the so-called sanctuary cities bill is taking place today and Governor Abbott spent yesterday with the secretary of Homeland Security touring the border, is for a later post. Right now, what’s important is that all people in Travis County #KnowYourRights in the event of an enforcement action.
As reported by Indivisible Austin and The Austin Chronicle, local immigration attorneys believe that “ICE is lodging detainers for any foreign-born person in a county jail,” adding, “those with criminal warrants and outstanding orders for removal are being specifically targeted.” Clearly, this situation is developing, and for those who are not lawyers, there is not very much we can do at this very moment.
However, now is the time to help people who may be affected by future ICE operations across Texas #KnowYourRights. It’s important for everyone to have trustworthy information and for all undocumented residents make a plan in case of future ICE activity in Travis County (or any other county in the state).
Thanks to Indivisible Austin for putting together the following list of resources.
The National Immigration Law Center Know Your Rights outlines the steps in a variety of situations.
United We Dream has created a Deportation Defense Card.
In Travis County, La Linea Defensa Comunitaria is a deportation hot line. Call (512) 270-1515
Deportation crisis hotline for Spanish or English speaking clients. We can help people find loved ones in detention centers/county jails, connect to attorneys, find basic needs financial, food, etc. support, engage with a supportive community of others impacted, and access mental health care. Also seeking bilingual crisis hotline volunteers. Training provided.
Family Safety Planning Toolkit Formulario de Planificacion Familiar
Immigrant Services Network of Austin has created a PDF toolkit, available in English and Spanish, to assist individuals and families with preparing to respond effectively in the event of raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The goals of the toolkit are to educate immigrants about their rights, and to assist individuals and families with an emergency plan for their household.
Finally, the ACLU puts these five rights at the top of its Know Your Rights: What to Do If You Are Stopped By Police, Immigration Agents or the FBI
- You have the right to remain silent. If you wish to exercise that right, say so out loud.
- You have the right to refuse to consent to a search of yourself, your car or your home.
- If you are not under arrest, you have the right to calmly leave.
- You have the right to a lawyer if you are arrested. Ask for one immediately.
- Regardless of your immigration or citizenship status, you have constitutional rights.
Note on image: