We need to ensure that all Travis County families are safe in our community, and confident that police will treat them equally under the law. In order to advance equal treatment for everyone in Travis County and to improve public safety in immigrant communities, I believe that the current relationship between the Travis County Sheriff’s Office and U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) must end. Travis County should not honor illegal, warrantless ICE notifications or detainer requests, period.
Since announcing that I am considering running for Travis County Sheriff, I have met with experts, families, and advocates for immigrant communities. Over the next few months, I will continue to meet with community activists, leaders and hold events where I hope to get your input on law enforcement issues. I welcome your thoughts and opinions — the good, bad, or otherwise. Your voice will be heard. My goal is to find opportunities to make our neighborhoods safer and better serve our community. You can click here to share your thoughts with me.
Today, I am releasing the first of many draft policy briefings to outline how we can make our community safer and better ensure equal treatment under the law for everyone. This is a working draft, and your input is welcome. Rebuilding relationships with immigrant communities in Travis County will make our community safer, and it is the right thing to do.
- I will end the voluntary cooperation with ICE and the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP-Comm), the successor program to Secure Communities (S-Comm).
- I will engage with immigrant communities by attending events, listening to concerns, holding informational meetings, and working with community partners.
- I will work with Spanish and other language media to help immigrants understand their rights, and encourage participation with law enforcement when they are victims or a witness to a crime or in need of assistance.
- I will have an open door policy with immigrant and community organizations.
The detention and deportation program fails to keep our community safe, ensure equal treatment of all people, and uphold constitutional rights.
As an investigator in the District Attorney’s Office, I investigated a case in which an undocumented immigrant was the victim of a crime and was deported due to his status. The District Attorney’s Office needed his testimony and cooperation to ensure the Defendant, the actual bad actor, received the punishment he deserved. I strongly believe that equal treatment of all people is not being carried out if the victim of a crime is unduly punished. I worked with my colleagues to ensure that the victim was returned to the United States. Rebuilding trust with the witness after he was the victim of a crime and then deported was difficult, but I was ultimately successful because we were both dedicated to protecting his family, neighbors, and friends.
Too often in public safety we are focused on the next arrest, the lack of resources, and the backbreaking challenges that each of us faces on a daily basis. Working as a public servant to protect our community is dangerous and demanding, with high stakes and not many rewards. Many times the people who are most vulnerable as victims of crime get lost in the daily grind. Getting to the root of a problem, or finding a creative solution to help those who need it is not easy. I believe with strong leadership, a new mentality, progressive reforms, and efforts to rebuild partnerships across our community, we can serve Travis County citizens better and make our county a safer place for everyone.
I appreciate your dedication to keeping our community safe and efforts to make our criminal justice system more fair and equal.