Locals are experiencing a growth in racial profiling and unlawful or unwarranted detainment. With the help of organisations like RAICES and the Southwest Workers Union, many low-priority, detained immigrants are released. However, not everybody is lucky enough to acquire representation. Detention facilities like the South Texas Detention Complex, can retain people for years.
Alan Ura Falcon was all too familiar with the incidents of racial-profiling and wrongful detention. On 3 May 2016, Falcon was the passenger in a truck leaving work when he was pulled over, without cause, by a local sheriff in George West, Texas. Despite the fact that Alan was a passenger, he was instructed to hand over identification. Falcon, an undocumented immigrant, was arrested and sent to the South Texas Detention Complex.
His case quickly caught the attention of the Southwest Workers Union. Falcon was moved to the United States when he was 14 years old. He also had no criminal background. These criteria qualified him for deferred action.
Thanks to the mobilization efforts of the Southwest Workers Union and RAICES, Alan was released on 20 May 2016.
This is just one example out of thousands of low-priority, undocumented immigrants experiencing the full threat of the I.C.E. Although their report claims that it prioritizes individuals with criminal records and recent border-crossings, the American Immigrant Council revealed a significant flaw in the language that changes the game for many immigrants living peacefully close to the border.
According the American Immigration Council, I.C.E. made a statement that claimed that "recent border crossings" can include anyone who has crossed the border illegally within the last three years. That significantly increases the number of non-criminal immigrants who will make the high-priority list for removal.
The Southwest Workers Union has noticed a correlation between officers seeking "recent border crossings" and officers who racially-profile in cities along the border. This puts people of colour at high risk for wrongful detainment.
While there is no doubt that the number of illegal immigrants being removed from this country has reduced, it's important to not focus on the issue of removal, but rather the issue of the living conditions of immigrants living regular lives in this country. These are the people who face the biggest threat of discrimination and profiling.
Diana Lopez, Director of the Southwest Workers Union explained her desire for the future of undocumented immigrants in Texas.
"We're talking about longterm justice that protects families and keeps families together, and that creates a system that doesn't persecute and criminalise people of colour."