Amelia Ruiz Fischer

  • Hosted by Texas Civil Rights Project
  • Sponsored by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
  • Service location Austin, Texas
  • Law school The University of Texas School of Law
  • Issue area Civil Rights/Civil Liberties, Immigrant Populations, Immigration Law Reform
  • Fellowship class year 2012
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Amelia combatted civil rights violations and re-victimization of immigrant survivors of domestic violence and other crimes under the Secure Communities (S-Comm) program of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) through litigation, advocacy, outreach, and education.

S-Comm’s intent is to remove dangerous criminal aliens unlawfully in the U.S. Many undocumented immigrants identified through S-Comm, however, are crime victims or domestic violence survivors who are entitled to immigration relief. S-Comm unjustifiably deports thousands of immigrant crime victims and domestic violence survivors, causes the immigrant community to distrust police officers, and leads to widespread civil rights violations such as police brutality, racial profiling, and wrongful arrest.

Fellowship Highlights

During her Fellowship, Amelia:

  • Challenged a county jail’s adherence with S-Comm and compliance with ICE detainers, which ended in a favorable settlement, including damages to the plaintiffs and a major policy change—the entire county no longer honors any ICE detainers
  • Helped organize, build, and maintain a coalition of community organizations and stakeholders, which has engaged in direct actions, negotiated with local elected officials, and become the leading local voice to push for policy change on S-Comm and ICE detainers in Travis County
  • Worked closely with Travis County Commissioners to pressure the sheriff to change his participation in S-Comm, including drafting a county resolution
  • Drafted and helped obtain an Austin City Council resolution strongly condemning the Travis County Sheriff’s participation in S-Comm, which passed 7-0 and promises to put significant pressure on the sheriff to modify his policy

Next Steps

Amelia has joined an immigration and civil rights law firm in Nacogdoches, Texas.

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