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Houston Officials Reiterate They Will Not Ask About Immigration Status, Create New Office To Help

HPD Chief Art Acevedo says that would divert ‘limited resources’ and Mayor Sylvester Turner announces a new City Department to assist immigrants and refugees.

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Mayor Sylvester Turner held a press conference at the Baker-Ripley Center, located in southwest Houston, to announce the creation of the Office of New Americans, which will Houston residents, especially immigrants and refugees, to access City services with more ease.
Mayor Sylvester Turner (center) held a press conference at the Baker-Ripley Center, located in southwest Houston, to announce the creation of the Office of New Americans, which will Houston residents, especially immigrants and refugees, to access City services with more ease.

The City of Houston is trying to clarify its stance on immigration amid the controversy over sanctuary cities.

Mayor Sylvester Turner announced Monday the creation of the Office of New Americans to help Houston residents, especially immigrants and refugees, to access City services with more ease.

The Mayor made the announcement during a press conference held at the Baker-Ripley Center, surrounded by City Council members Mike Laster and Robert Gallegos, as well as by other elected officials such as U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Texas State Senator Sylvia Garcia and representatives from several community organizations.

Turner also said he is one of the Mayors who have asked President-elect Donald Trump to keep the Deferred Action program.

Commonly known as DACA, it protects undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children from deportation.

"You don’t wanna lose that talent. You don’t wanna strip people away from their families, you don’t want to separate them," the Mayor stressed.

In the law enforcement front, the Houston Police Department (HPD) will maintain its policy of not asking the public about immigration status.

"Police doubling as immigration officials would divert limited resources needed to prevent crimes, such as murder, robbery, sexual assault and to apprehend the criminals who commit them," explained Recently named HPD Chief Art Acevedo

Turner is also developing the so-called Welcoming Houston program, which will aim at improving the coordination between the City and community organizations to provide services to newcomers.

During the press conference, a member of the public urged Turner to designate Houston as a sanctuary city, but the Mayor didn't use that term.

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