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Tackling the questions surrounding “sanctuary cities” law

Wednesday, July 12, 2017 by Sommer Brugal

The Commission on Immigrant Affairs floated the idea of a town hall meeting meant to inform Austin residents about Senate Bill 4 at its meeting Monday evening. Chair Karen Crawford presented the initial idea. The intention for doing so, she said, is to encourage advocacy groups to gather general concerns and questions coming from the public they represent, and to bring those comments forward to be addressed by the commission and other city leaders. “The reason I brought it up, too, is that I look at the commission as (representing) all immigrant and refugee communities in the city, no matter their origin or immigration status,” said Crawford. “(There are also) a lot of people who have documentation who are worried about this and have questions.” She said turning this topic into a broader conversation, rather than focusing in on certain aspects of the bill, would be beneficial. Some commissioners, though, wondered what the end goal was for acquiring such information. One idea presented was to organize a town hall not for the Austin residents who have questions, but for various advocacy groups instead. That way advocates can attend the meeting to learn about the city’s efforts in regards to the bill, to then relay that information back to the people they serve. Though a final decision whether or not to move forward with a town hall wasn’t agreed upon at the meeting, the commission plans to continue brainstorming ideas on how to best answer questions from those in the community. The bill is scheduled to take effect Sept. 1.

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