Art Acevedo urges Congress to act on immigration reform: “We cannot have groundhog day, day in and day out.”

Amid specter of family deportations in Houston, many local Texas officials and migrant advocates agree it’s past time that federal lawmakers address the nation’s complicated asylum and immigration systems. But opinions vary about whether state and federal responses in recent days will prompt congressional action.

President Donald Trump’s vow to potentially deport immigrant families facing deportation orders, including some in Houston, and Texas leaders’ deployment of 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border could ratchet up the political pressure on Congress to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws.

Many local officials and migrant advocates agree it’s past time that federal lawmakers address the nation’s complicated asylum and immigration systems. But their opinions are varied about whether state and federal responses — and the specter of deportation raids aimed at families that could come in two weeks — will prompt congressional action.

They also disagree on whether the impact such political statements and bureaucratic maneuvers have on undocumented immigrants already living here and the surge of migrants seeking to cross the country’s southern border is worth the potential congressional outcome.

“I don’t know if it’s an effective way or not an effective way,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told The Texas Tribune late Saturday. “The bottom line is that when you make those general threats, it does have a chilling effect on people that are our neighbors, they’re our friends, they’re our workers, parents of American-born children.”

When Trump delayed Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids this weekend that would have targeted families facing deportation orders — including people living in Houston — he said he was doing so to give federal lawmakers a chance to address “Asylum and Loophole problems” at the U.S.-Mexico border.

BuzzFeed reported Saturday that leaks to the media about the pending operations may have prompted the president to call off the plans. Despite the reasoning, Trump’s announced delay has done little to qualm fears of immigrants in Houston.

“Honestly, just because he says that, doesn’t mean it won’t happen either,” said Laura Perez-Boston with the Workers Defense Project in Houston.

By Alana Rocha for THE TEXAS TRIBUNE

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