Picture of Texas with various images from protests in it.

Texas

BACKGROUND

Immigrants, Black people, and communities of color in Texas have faced decades of criminalization, incarceration, and deep entanglement between local law enforcement agencies and federal immigration enforcement authorities - leading to high numbers of immigration arrests, deportations, and incarcerations.

 

Texas is also home to one of the nation’s most regressive anti-immigrant laws, SB 4, which fortifies ICE’s ability to use local jails to target, arrest, and deport immigrants. As an epicenter for criminalization and immigration enforcement, we know that policies in Texas will impact other locations facing similar challenges.

 

 

 

 

 

Our Strategy

Our strategy to challenge the anti-immigrant and mass incarceration agenda in Texas is to pass and implement local policies that disrupt the arrest-to-deportation pipeline by reducing arrests, incarceration, and deportations. We advocate for local policies that promote immigrant rights and criminal justice, and we provide a wide range of campaign, legal/policy, and communications support to local groups and coalitions fighting for inclusive justice.

By increasing understanding of how the criminal and immigrations systems intersect, nurturing effective coalitions, winning policy change, developing resources, shifting the narrative, building legal capacity, and fostering cohesion among advocates across the state, we seek to build a strong movement for long-terms wins at the local level and strengthen legal representation for immigrants in Texas. 
 

Our Texas Based Staff

Anita Gupta

Staff Attorney | agupta@ilrc.org

Carolina Canizales

Senior Texas Strategist | ccanizales@ilrc.org

Priscilla Olivarez

Policy Attorney and Strategist | polivarez@ilrc.org

Coalition Partners

We proudly work in collaboration with these coalitions and other partners throughout Texas looking to better the lives of immigrants. These are some of the coalitions we partake in:

Resources

FAQs & Explainers
Resources
Publication Date
04/20/2022
 In Texas, Black and Latinx migrants are being harmed by Operation Lone Star- an unconstitutional and racist law enforcement operation that is criminalizing migrants who are seeking safety in the U.S. border. Operation Lone Star is a complex scheme involving multiple law enforcement agencies in the state. This comprehensive resource explains how Operation Lonestar is being implemented and funded, explains why this operation is illegal and unconstitutional, highlights how this scheme expands the carceral and enforcement systems, and how it’s harming entire border communities.
Public Comments / Sign-on Letters
Resources
Publication Date
02/23/2022
Our ILRC Texas team continues to lead the charge opposing Governor Gregg Abbott's Operation Lone Star. This sign-on letter urges Union Pacific to end its involvement in the racist and unconstitutional “Operation Lone Star” scheme.
Toolkit & Reports
Resources
Publication Date
12/09/2021
Black people and other communities of color, including immigrants, have faced decades of overpolicing, criminalization, and incarceration in Texas, often for alleged conduct that does not mandate an arrest or even carry jail time in the state. One way to effectively reduce arrests is to pass a local cite and release policy. This advocacy toolkit gives local organizers and advocates in Texas the tools they need to lead a successful cite and release campaign. We have included many helpful resources, samples, and insights for every step in a cite & release campaign – from initial education, research, and data collection through policy implementation.
Resources
Resources
The ILRC’s work in Texas focuses on building capacity and passing and implementing local policies that dismantle the arrest-to-deportation pipeline and decriminalize immigrants, Black people, and other communities of color. To further this goal, the ILRC’s Texas team employs an array of strategies to advocate for local policies and cultivate partnerships that promote immigrant rights and criminal justice, undercut the impact of one of our nation’s most regressive anti-immigrant laws, SB 4, and build power for long-term wins. This overview of our work in Texas discusses our vision and strategy, and highlights some of our recent successes.
Toolkit & Reports
Resources
Publication Date
08/16/2021
Harris County, home to approximately 1.2 million immigrants, is one of the largest and most diverse counties in the United States. Unfortunately, it also operates an expansive jail system and is an epicenter of immigration enforcement. This report looks at criminal case outcomes before Harris County courts and highlights disparities between U.S. citizens and non-citizens in arrests, charges, bail, case disposition, and sentencing. Through this report, we seek to raise awareness about how non-citizens are unjustly treated in Harris County, and we provide key policy recommendations for stakeholders to take immediate action to address such inequities.
FAQs & Explainers
Resources
Publication Date
07/21/2021
As groups across Texas advocate for cite and release policies in their own localities, it has become increasingly important that we utilize values-based messaging in our campaigns. This guide, available in multiple languages, provides messaging recommendations to ensure there is unity in how we talk about cite and release. It provides suggested language to ensure inclusive messaging that uplifts the dignity and humanity of all community members, regardless of criminal history.
Practice Advisory
Resources
Publication Date
08/29/2022
This practice advisory explains the various immigration consequences of a conviction for Assault under Texas Penal Code § 22.01 and provides tips for mitigating such consequences in criminal proceedings. This August 2022 update includes analysis of the Texas Assault statute in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Borden v. United States. The Texas Assault statute is complex and includes several subsections, so we have included a chart in the appendix describing the potential immigration consequences for each subsection of the Texas Assault statute.
FAQs & Explainers
Resources
Publication Date
11/10/2020
This resource includes an update regarding the ongoing Gonzalez v. ICE federal litigation. On September 11, 2020, the Ninth Circuit issued a decision which includes some important changes to the February 2020 Central District of California federal court order. We have included an update on the first page which discusses what has changed, followed by information from our April 2020 resource. Please note that some of the information in our April 2020 resource related to the previous district court order is no longer applicable.
FAQs & Explainers
Resources
Publication Date
10/08/2020
A cite and release policy is a directive to law enforcement officers to issue citations, tickets, or warnings for certain low-level offenses, instead of making arrests. This resource provides a general overview of cite and release policies, including the goals and benefits of cite and release, the components of a strong policy, the eligible offenses under Texas state law, and examples of local policies across Texas. 
FAQs & Explainers
Resources
Publication Date
07/10/2020
Before pushing for change at the city level, it is important to understand your city government’s structure, as well as the responsibilities and powers of elected and appointed city officials, such as the Mayor, City Council, Police Chief, City Attorney and City Manager. This resource is for Texas advocates and explains the differences between the two major forms of city government in Texas, the powers of important city officials, and how various forms of city government affect the roles of those officials.
FAQs & Explainers
Resources
Publication Date
06/12/2020
Before pushing for change at the county level, it is crucial to understand the powers and responsibilities of different county officials and bodies. This resource is for Texas advocates and explains the authority and jurisdiction of various local elected county officials in Texas.

ILRC in Texas

The ILRC’s work in Texas focuses on building capacity and passing and implementing local policies that dismantle the arrest-to-deportation pipeline and decriminalize immigrants, Black people, and other communities of color.