Austin Passes Lawless "Freedom City" Resolutions to Evade Texas Anti-Sanctuary Law
By Shari Rendall | June 28, 2018
Long one of the country’s first sanctuary cities, liberal Austin has now come up with a new “too-clever-by-half” scheme to try to get around Texas’s 2017 anti-sanctuary law, SB 4. Called “Freedom City,” it essentially amounts to protecting illegal aliens by eliminating law enforcement altogether for numerous crimes.
Austin’s “Freedom City” policy consists of two resolutions passed by its city council on June 14. The first resolution requires officers who ask about people’s immigration status to tell them they don’t have to answer, i.e., that they have a “right to remain silent.” This “immigration version” of the Miranda warnings used in criminal cases has not been upheld by any court to be legally required until someone is formally placed in deportation proceedings. Indeed, the Board of Immigration Appeals held in 2011 that Miranda warnings or something like them are often not necessary to use someone’s incriminating statements in immigration court.
The second resolution “directs the City Manager to work with the Police Chief to take the steps necessary and appropriate to eliminate the use of discretionary arrests for non-violent misdemeanors,” effectively forcing officers not to make custodial arrests and book people into jail for those crimes. The motive is obvious: when someone’s released with a warning or a written citation/summons rather than going to jail, they’re far less likely to be brought to the attention of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for possible deportation. But non-violent misdemeanors in Texas aren’t necessarily unserious: they include almost all traffic offenses (including Driving While Intoxicated), as well as things like Harassment, Pimping, Carrying a Firearm Without a Permit, Criminal Trespass, Criminal Mischief (vandalism) of up to $2500 in property damage, and Theft of up to $1500, just to name a few.
Detective Ken Casaday, president of the Austin Police Association, has called the resolutions bad policy and said he thinks the city council is engaging in “race baiting.” He strongly believes officers need discretion in whether to make arrests for misdemeanors, both to keep dangerous drivers off the road and to protect victims from crimes that, while “minor,” are nonetheless real and harmful. Appearing on “Fox & Friends First” on June 26, he said, “[t]here's no way that these victims should be re-victimized by just letting the person walk away.”
Austin is already losing police officers faster than it can recruit them, and these reckless new policies are likely only to add to that. While Mayor Steve Adler (D) may have recently (and absurdly) declared that “[c]ities around the state and around the country are looking at Austin for leadership,” Austin actually appears to be competing with San Francisco and a few other places for the title of most lawless city in America. If these policies are allowed to stand, productive citizens and businesses will invariably move out as more illegal aliens and crime rapidly move in.