On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, newly-elected Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted:
— Ed Gonzalez (@EdForSheriff) January 17, 2017
Houstonians are asking that exact question of Sheriff Gonzalez today, calling on him—and on Mayor Turner whose own MLK Day tweet stated his belief that where you’re born shouldn’t hold you back—to protect immigrant Houstonians in anticipation of action by President Trump.
You should ask as well.
Call Sheriff Gozalez and Mayor Turner today to let them know that you want them to keep Houston families safe.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Trump’s most likely actions will be:
- Stepping up deportations of undocumented people,
- Reversing President Obama’s executive action which created the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy,
- Rejecting refugees from Syria and other Muslim nations, and
- Cutting grant funding for any cities that do not comply with federal immigration authorities.
Trump has already warmed up his pen by signing executive orders today to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership; to reinstate the anti-free speech Mexico City gag rule; and to enact a federal hiring freeze.
With a federal hiring freeze in place, how will Trump go after immigrants?
He has the option of relying on state and local law enforcement.
Under Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can enter into agreements with law enforcement agencies and deputize their officers to enforce federal immigration laws. Harris County is operating under a 287(g) agreement that was renewed by the former Republican Sheriff in June 2016.
During his campaign for Harris County Sheriff, Democrat Ed Gonzalez raised concerns in an interview with Houston Public Media about the county’s cooperation with ICE and DHS authorities under 287(g):
Harris County Sheriff-elect Ed Gonzalez wants to eliminate the 287(g) program, by which the Sheriff’s Office alerts immigration authorities when they have undocumented immigrants in the county jail.
Gonzalez argues the program can violate due process and it is an unnecessary strain on the resources of the Sheriff’s Office.
He is also worried about distrust because immigrant communities get the impression that “the Police are now basically deportation agents.”
Additionally, Gonzalez argues the program can lead to racial profiling.
He also published this very succinct and straightforward graphic on his Facebook page in September 2016:
Activists, preparing for increasingly hostile and anti-immigrant action from the new administration, have stepped up calls to end this contract and cooperation. Oscar Hernandez, Houston Organizer, United We Dream, shared the following statement:
Today is the start of the Trump administration’s attack on the immigrant community. Our local officials must stand with our immigrant community and protect them.
The Mayor can implement protective policies and the Sheriff can end 287g today.
Our state officials must keep in-state tuition for Dreamers and our members of Congress must protect DACA and pass legislation to protect all immigrants.
Trump will use rhetoric to make a distinction between “criminals” and good immigrants. Don’t fall for it! Increased enforcement will criminalize all immigrants and make all of us less safe.
More information on the action, and updates on future actions, can be found on United We Dream–Houston’s Facebook page and Twitter account, and by checking the #End287g and #HereToStay hashtags on Twitter.