Last year, Tarrant County signed an agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to help the federal agency detain undocumented immigrants.
Thursday, that partnership was at the center of a forum hosted by the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce – and it was also a cause for protest.
Luncheons at the posh Fort Worth Club are usually schmoozey affairs, business leaders and elected officials chatting over white table cloths. Thursday’s luncheon, though, had a serious tone focused on recent hard-line immigration policies coming from Austin and Washington.
“I don’t use terms like ‘undocumented citizen,’ or whatever. I use ‘community.’ And we are charged with protecting our community, no matter who is a part of the community, no matter what status they’re in,” said Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald on stage at the event.
Fitzgerald tasked his officers with easing fear among immigrant communities after Texas lawmakers passed Senate Bill 4. The law makes it a crime for local officials not to cooperate with federal immigration authorities and authorizes local police to ask about immigration status.