How Immigrant Youth Helped Defeat an Anti-Immigrant Program in Houston

“Today Texas immigrants celebrate a racial justice victory. Today we are one step closer to defeating the mass deportation plans of Governor Abbott and Donald Trump.”

These are the words of Oscar Hernandez, an immigrant youth leader in Houston, TX, which echoed yesterday as Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez announced that the city will finally be breaking ties with heavily criticized and anti-immigrant, deportation program known as 287(g) — a program that promotes racial profiling and deputizes local law-enforcement as immigration agents.

The immediate tangible impact of this victory is overwhelming. The 287(g) program has resulted in thousands of deportations as well as racially motivated questioning of individuals, traffic stops, and unconstitutional searches and seizures in communities of color. Now, communities of color in Harris County can rest a bit easier knowing that their local sheriff’s department will no longer be participating in this program.

But how did we get here? How did immigrants along with Black and LGBTQ allies in the county responsible for more deportations than any other come together to rightfully claiming that they are Here To Stay and get us one big step closer to winning the dignity and justice our community deserves? The interactive timeline below will take you through the journey and the story of how a movement, led by immigrant youth, transformed a city and will continue to transform an entire state state and the nation as a whole.

The Journey

What’s Next

The termination of the 287(g) contract is a huge victory for all communities in Houston and was only possible thanks to the tireless organizing led by immigrant youth and their allies. We do know, however, that to ensure that ALL Houstonians live without fear of racial profiling, mass-incarceration, and deportation we need a city that will take the bold stand of providing sanctuary — a place where everyone under attack by the Trump regime can be safe and thrive.

Together Black, LGBTQ, Muslim, Immigrant and Latinx people will advance this vision and will send a clear message to Texas public officials, if you make threats or promises to our community, we will hold you accountable. You can join by calling Together we will win. Join Us.