Colored drawing by Anthony Jensen

Friday, October 28, 2016

Travis County Sheriff Candidates on ICE

The pivotal issue in the Sheriff's race concerns the candidates' respective stance on cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE").

The Republican candidate wants to continue our cooperation, despite the Department of Justice's guidelines, and even increase it. He recognizes ICE's authority at every level, including their administrative "requests" for detention beyond constitutional deadlines for holding a person without charging them.

The Democratic candidate originally came out as reform-minded on the matter, but has never provided details and appears to be backpedaling as the media has been noting, most recently in this KUT piece.

The Libertarian candidate has said he'd handle it on a "case by case" basis, but has strengthened that somewhat to only cooperating with them "90% of the time."

As I explained fully in my last blog, I, as the Green Party candidate, will not cooperate with ICE directly, but will only recognize a judicial order for detention which must show that the person is a threat to the public safety and a flight risk.

If you care about due process for ALL PERSONS, the choice is clear.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

"Sanctuary Sally"? More Like, "Sly Sally"

People aren't "illegal." People might do illegal things; but, it should be noted, undocumented people in the US commit less violent crime than the citizenry.

In the race for Travis County Sheriff, in which I'm the Green Party candidate, our Republican contender, Joe Martinez, sanctimoniously (pardon the pun) refers to the Democratic candidate, Sally Hernandez, as "Sanctuary Sally." This term is supposed to draw ire from the minority conservative base in our county by inferring that she will protect undocumented hardened criminals from being deported, to the detriment of our public safety.

Harping on the "sanctuary city" dogma is just par for the course of desperate conservatives afraid of losing power to the growing majority who generally believe in progressive policies. Nevermind that there is no such thing as a "sanctuary city," or that no candidate - EVER - has said they plan to set free undocumented people who are a public safety threat.

In my answer given for the League of Women Voters guide, I specifically say what no one else in the race has said, that I will only honor a warrant/a court order; not an "ICE request," which is simply an administrative letter asking for detention beyond the legal 48-hour hold for those who haven't had charges brought against them. As most progressive places across the US do, our county should follow the Department of Justice's guidelines and only respond when a judge has signed a warrant stating that the person poses a threat to the public safety and is a flight risk.

As sheriff, I will afford ALL PERSONS in our jail their 14th amendment right to due process.

Meanwhile, on the primary issue that has shaped this race, the "progressive" Democrat Sally Hernandez (and presumptive winner as history has shown), began her campaign somewhat vague on how she'd handle ICE requests and has managed to soften her stance from what little she was saying pre-primary. During the summer, she did say 
she won’t hold inmates for ICE when the federal agency seeks to remove them from the country, but has since back-peddled.

Two recent Statesman articles mention both her lack of details on the matter and her softening stance, saying now she'd handle them on a "case-by-case" basis (as does the Libertarian contender, Eric Guerra). That's a far cry from non-cooperation.

She's essentially duping voters by giving the impression she's going to reverse our current regressive course on ICE, but now we know this is NOT her position.

It's not the sheriff's job is to assist ICE on fishing expeditions and help them deport people for minor offenses that don't affect the public safety. An expired tag, a jaywalking offense, or minor marijuana possession should not open the door to the civil issue (and a misdemeanor one at that) of being undocumented. For that matter, those types of offenses shouldn't incur jail time at all. But "progressive" Travis County has had one of the highest deportation rates in the nation for people with misdemeanor offenses (19 per week).

I will follow the law and won't put people in our jail that aren't actually a public safety threat. If that's a "radical," Green position, so be it. I think it's the right one.

Go here for voting info and my endorsements in Travis County