"Why one Texas sheriff fears tougher Immigration enforcement will make her city less safe" PBS NewsHour 2/16/2017
SUMMARY: After President Trump was sworn in, one Texas sheriff made a policy change limiting cooperation with agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, fearing that undocumented people won't trust police if they're afraid of being deported. Taking action to make her city a “sanctuary” has drawn criticism and retaliation. William Brangham reports.
HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour): Many restaurants and businesses were closed today for a national strike called A Day Without Immigrants. The closures were an attempt by participants to show how crucial immigrants are to American society.
Of course, as we heard in his press conference today, immigration remains a vital issue to the President. He campaigned promising to deport millions and to build a wall on the Mexican border. And, last week, federal immigration raids in at least six states arrested hundreds.
But the immigration debate also plays out in the nation's so-called sanctuary cities, where local governments resist cooperating with federal immigration officials.
The NewsHour's William Brangham went to Austin, Texas, for a closer look.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I, Donald John Trump, do solemnly swear …
WILLIAM BRANGHAM (NewsHour): Just a few hours after Donald Trump was sworn in as President, another newly elected official, Sheriff Sally Hernandez of Travis County, Texas, posted this video:
SALLY HERNANDEZ, Travis County, Texas, Sheriff: I'm Sally Hernandez, your Travis County sheriff.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The video laid out her department's policy change, which limits cooperation with agents from ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Hernandez says she doesn't want her deputies to be seen as ICE agents.
SALLY HERNANDEZ: We in law enforcement need the cooperation of our communities of color. We need them to be running to us, and not running away from us.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Travis County, which includes Austin, has an estimated 100,000 undocumented immigrants, like Felix Jimenez. The sheriff says people like Jimenez won't trust police if they're constantly afraid of being deported.
And Jimenez agrees.
FELIX JIMENEZ, Undocumented Immigrant (through interpreter): We're afraid when we see a police officer. We're Hispanic. We could be stopped for any reason. The real fear that keeps me nervous after a long day is that I may not see my children because I was stopped for only a small infraction.
SALLY HERNANDEZ: We cannot afford to make our communities less safe by driving people into the shadows.