Newly released emails from Immigration and Customs Enforcement reveal how the organization responded to federal immigration raids in Austin and Washington D.C. earlier this year.
The emails were obtained by law school students at Vanderbilt University and published in the online publication The Intercept. In them, ICE agents can be seen communicating with their bosses at the agency's headquarters.
During operation Cross Check -- which resulted in 51 arrests in the Austin area -- agents were told to highlight "three egregious cases" in which criminals with serious backgrounds were arrested. They also show that social media posts by Council Member Greg Casar caused alarm.
An unidentified ICE agent wrote, "Please be careful. Austin city council member Greg Casar is saying ICE has taken action in the North Lamar/Rundberg areas, arrested people for standing up against people like Abbott and Trump."
It was later revealed that most of the people arrested by ICE during the raids did not have criminal records.
ICE's justification for targeting the Austin area has changed. At first, the agency said it was, in fact, targeting harden criminals.
But the agency later said it was in response to new policies by Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez to not fully cooperate with ICE.
Sheriff Hernandez has since ended her policy after state lawmakers earlier this year enacted a law banning so-called sanctuary cities.
© 2017 KVUE-TV