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Commissioners don’t act on ICE jail holds

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 by Beth Cortez-Neavel

Travis County Commissioners met with county attorneys in a morning executive session Tuesday to discuss County Sheriff Greg Hamilton’s approval of and participation in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Secure Communities Program. The program asks local officials to detain immigrants who entered the country illegally and have completed their jail term for ICE. There have been complaints by immigrant rights groups that federal agents are breaking up families and targeting those who allegedly commit minor crimes. At a recent budget hearing, Hamilton sought more funding for employee overtime, but advocates asked that additional funds be withheld as long as the program was in place. Alejandro Caceres of the Austin Immigration Rights Coalition said the program is not making the community safer, but is instead causing a crisis. No action was taken in open court Tuesday, and there was no move to add the item to future agendas. However, commissioners say they are working to persuade the sheriff’s office to drop the program.



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