Federal judge says ICE targeted Austin for immigrant raid in retaliation for 'sanctuary' policy

Austin, Texas, targeted by ICE
(Image credit: iStock)

In early February, a few weeks after President Trump's inauguration, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents rounded up hundreds of undocumented immigrants in six cities, including 51 in Austin — 28 of whom had no criminal history, an unusually large percentage. On Monday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Austin said federal agents had warned him and another federal judge in late January to expect a crackdown on immigrants in response to a new "sanctuary" policy adopted by Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez.

Under the policy, announced in late January, the Travis County sheriff's office will not hold suspects for ICE unless ICE gets a warrant or the detainee is suspected of committing serious crimes like murder, aggravated sexual assault, or human trafficking. According to a Homeland Security Department report released Monday, Travis County rejected 142 ICE detention requests from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3 (though many of the so-called detainers had been issued throughout 2016), by far the most in Texas.

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