Councilman: ICE conducting 'actions' in Austin

AUSTIN - Austin City Councilman Gregorio Casar said Friday that his office has confirmed “a large amount of Immigration and Customs Enforcement actions in Austin in the last 24 hours, particularly in the North Lamar and Rundberg area.”

The message came from Casar on his Facebook page and was later tweeted out from his official account as well. Casar said the raids came because he believes, “ICE is out in public arresting people in order to retaliate against our community for standing up for our values against people like Abbott and Trump.”

There have been repeated rumors that ICE was planning actions in the area for several days. Last week, Austin lawyers said ICE officials would only be looking for anyone with an outstanding order of deportation or a warrant for arrest.

ICE has declined to discuss any possible actions that could be coming in the Austin area, but gave the following statement to KVUE's Michael Perchick:

Casar called the action by ICE overnight, “beyond reprehensible” and that the raids “instill fear in the community, and they make everyday people fear for their lives.”

“Trump and his allies will do everything they can to divide Americans, invoke fear in vulnerable neighborhoods, and demonize an entire community of people,” Casar wrote on Facebook.

Casar said he would be in District 4 Friday to talk to the community and inform the citizens of their rights. Casar said the ICE raids had the goal of trying to “silence us,” but, “We will not be silenced.”

Texas State Senator Dawn Buckingham took to Facebook Friday afternoon called Casar's statements, "outrageous."

"Not only does questioning law enforcement put our communities at risk, it paints a bull's-eye on the backs of the brave men and women sworn to protect us under extremely challenging circumstances," Buckingham said on Facebook.

She reiterated her support for Senate Bill 4 and "Governor Abbott's efforts to prohibit sanctuary policies." She also stated she would always '"back the blue.'"

According to KVUE's Tony Plohetski, APD Chief Manley said that federal officials haven't told APD about any change in local operations and that they are not aware of anything beyond normal ICE operations.

During a press conference Friday afternoon, Chief Manley elaborated and said that ICE has full jurisdiction over Austin and is not required to inform APD of their operations. 

"They don't check in with us, they don't have to check in with us," Chief Manley said. 

Chief Manley also said that APD remains committed to keeping all residents of Austin safe, regardless of their citizenship status.

"I want to reach out to the immigrant community and reaffirm that we are here for you as we are for anybody else in our community," Chief Manley said. He said that immigrants should not be afraid to reach out to APD and that Austin police officers are not concerned about citizenship status and is, "absolutely, 100 percent focused on the safety of citizens."

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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