AUSTIN,Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - Last year, the Austin City Council adopted a resolution, directing the Austin Police Department to release reports, showing when and why the department ever contacted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
"That report shows over 500 instances of the police department either cooperating or handing over information to speed up deportations,” said Greg Casar, with the city council.
The memo shows that last year, police shared certain people's personal information such as utility, phone, and school district records with ICE. But there wasn't much explanation of why I.C.E. was contacted. That's why Casar said the information in the report is too vague.
"We still don't have the information that we need or the context that we need to be able to see how many of these instances were forced by SB-4 and federal law, and how many of them were voluntary uses of police resources,” said Casar.
Grassroots Leadership Executive Director Bob Libal said this is a big reason why his group stood so firmly against SB-4.
“The report released on Friday is exactly the reason we needed the freedom city policy," said Libal.
When SB-4 was signed into law, Governor Greg Abbott said, the only people who would need to be concerned are illegal, criminal aliens.
"I think this demonstrates that that is actually not true at all. The sharing of people's information to immigration has nothing to do with criminal law enforcement," said Libal.
Immigration rights activists believe if police and community trust is lost, that opens the door for trouble in the future.
"APD resources, which really should be dedicated to protecting people from unsafe situations, and should be dedicated to enhance public safety, are being forced to be routed to immigration enforcement, which makes our community less safe," said Casar.