County Attorney Press Releases

El Paso County Joins Local Governments From Across The Country To Support The City Of Chicago’s Bid To Preserve Local Control Over Law Enforcement Policy

Local Government Amicus Brief Challenges Unconstitutional Federal Grant Conditions

On Thursday August 31, 2017, El Paso County joined 36 cities, counties, and municipal agencies across the nation, along with other organizations, in filing an amicus curiae or “friend of the court” brief with the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The brief, authored by the County of Santa Clara, California in City of Chicago v. Sessions, urges the Court to grant the City of Chicago’s motion for a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of new federal grant conditions recently announced by the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”).

The new DOJ conditions target the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program, the leading source of federal grant funds for law enforcement, crime prevention, correctional, prosecution, indigent defense, and crime victim and witness programs. The new conditions would disqualify state and local governments from receiving these funds unless they agree to assist the federal government in enforcing federal immigration law. The amicus brief argues on behalf of local governments nationwide that these unconstitutional and unlawful conditions undermine the ability of local law enforcement agencies to carry out their own considered judgments about how best to keep their communities safe.

The diverse group of local government entities and organizations that joined the amicus brief argue that local governments must maintain discretion to develop law enforcement policies tailored to the needs of their communities. Many cities and counties around the country have decided that limiting their involvement in federal immigration enforcement best promotes public safety by empowering all community members to report crimes and serve as witnesses, avoiding creating a class of “silent victims” who feel local law enforcement doesn’t serve them. In fact, the brief cites evidence that communities where local police do not engage in immigration enforcement—including major cities like Chicago—have lower crime rates than those that do.

DOJ’s new grant conditions would force local governments to either abandon the policies that they have adopted to increase community trust and lower crime rates, or lose their main source of federal funding for critical law enforcement programs that help achieve these goals.

El Paso County Commissioners approved joining the County of Santa Clara’s amicus brief at their meeting on Monday, August 28, 2017. El Paso County will not expend any public funds in joining the amicus brief.

The cities, counties, and organizations that signed the brief filed today are:

The County of Santa Clara, California; the City of Austin, Texas; the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts; the City of Chelsea, Massachusetts; the City and County of Denver, Colorado; the District of Columbia; El Paso County, Texas; the City of Houston, Texas; the International City/County Management Association; the International Municipal Lawyers Association; the City of Iowa City, Iowa; the City of Ithaca, New York; King County, Washington; the City of Lawrence, Massachusetts; the City of Los Angeles, California; the City of Madison, Wisconsin; the City of Menlo Park, California; the Metropolitan Area Planning Council; the National Association of Counties; the National League of Cities; the City of New York, New York; the City of Oakland, California; the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; the City of Portland, Oregon; the City of Providence, Rhode Island; the City of Rochester, New York; the City of Sacramento, California; the City of Salinas, California; the City and County of San Francisco, California; the City of San José, California; the City of Santa Ana, California; the County of Santa Cruz, California; the City of Santa Fe, New Mexico; the City of Seattle, Washington; the City of Somerville, Massachusetts; the County of Sonoma, California; the City of Syracuse, New York; Travis County, Texas; the City of Tucson, Arizona; the City of Union City, New Jersey; The United States Conference of Mayors; and the City of West Hollywood, California.

To download a copy of the amicus brief filed today with the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, please follow this link: https://goo.gl/xMs1hi.

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Federal Sanctuary Cities Brief Press Release.pdf 

County Attorney’s Office To Offer Free Assistance To Execute “Medical Wills” to Montana Vista Residents

As part of our ongoing campaign to promote the use of Advance Medical Directives (“medical wills”) in our community, attorneys and volunteers from the County Attorney’s Office will be offering free assistance regarding advance care planning and advance directive forms.

The event will take place on Friday July 21, 2017, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. at the offices of the Justice of the Peace, Precinct 6, located at 14608 Greg Dr. All residents of El Paso County are encouraged to come and get free assistance drafting their advance directives forms. All they have to do is bring a current picture ID.

Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to convey your decisions about end-of-life care ahead of time. They provide a way for you to communicate your wishes to family, friends, and health care professionals, and to avoid confusion later on.

A Directive to Physicians or Living Will tells how you feel about care intended to sustain life. You can accept or refuse medical care. There are many issues to address, including:

  • The use of dialysis and breathing machines
  • If you want to be resuscitated if breathing or heartbeat stops
  • Tube feeding
  • Organ or tissue donation
  • Blood transfusions

A Medical Power of Attorney allows individuals to designate someone they trust to make health decisions if they are unable to do so.

Individuals interested in printing at home their own Directive to Physicians and Medical Power of Attorney forms can download them by visiting the County Attorney’s web page. The English language forms can be downloaded here, and the Spanish language forms can be downloaded here.

WHO: Volunteers from the County Attorney’s Office

WHAT: Free Assistance in drafting “Living Wills”

WHEN: Friday July 21, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

WHERE: Office of JP Precinct 6, 14608 Greg Dr., in Montana Vista.

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2017 Living Wills Event Press Release.pd

El Paso County Files Lawsuit To Block Implementation Of Anti-Immigrant Texas Senate Bill 4

Complaint alleges SB4 is unconstitutional and will greatly harm El Paso County residents

         On Monday May 22, 2017, El Paso County filed a civil lawsuit against the State of Texas, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Texas DPS Director Steve McCraw alleging SB4 violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments, the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution (Article VI, Clause 2), and the Texas Constitution.

         The lawsuit was filed this afternoon in San Antonio, Texas by the law firm of Garza Golando Moran, PLLC, on behalf of El Paso County, El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles, and the Texas Organizing Project with the assistance of the Texas Civil Rights Project.

         The lawsuit alleges Senate Bill 4 is a discriminatory legislation that unnecessarily makes Texas less safe while eroding the discretion of elected officials and local communities to govern themselves. Its implications particularly affect a border community like El Paso County that is over 80% Hispanic and whose residents already face diminished Constitutional rights as a result of its location next to Mexico.

         Ironically, like most of Texas, El Paso County is not a “sanctuary city.” It cooperates with federal law enforcement agencies and is already one of the safest large cities in the United States.

         The lawsuit claims SB 4 inexplicably and unconstitutionally seeks to erode the discretion of local law enforcement and local elected officials to create policies and practices that keep the community safe and that respect the rights of the nationalities and races of all residents and visitors.     

         The discriminatory intent of this law is made clear by the legislative process and intent of its creation. It is unconstitutionally vague and oversteps the US and Texas constitutional protections of free speech, local discretion and regulation of immigration laws. It is for these reasons that El Paso filed this suit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief.

         The lawsuit asks the court to:

         · Declare SB4 unconstitutional and invalid.

         · Enjoin the State of Texas from enforcing SB4.

         · Award El Paso County court costs and attorney’s fees.

         In part, the lawsuit contends SB4 violates the Texas Constitution because it interferes with El Paso County’s ability to exercise its broad discretion in accomplishing its constitutionally assigned duties to provide county government services to all its residents. It also interferes with the El Paso County Sheriff’s constitutional duty to decide policy in the area of law enforcement, including the operation of the County jail, removing all discretion to make and enforce rules. SB4 also interferes with the El Paso County Attorney’s exclusive prosecutorial function, and its discretion regarding her duty to protect victims of crime, including victims of domestic violence and child abuse.

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SB4 Lawsuit Press Release.pdf 

SB 4 Original Complaint Stamped.pdf 

 

 

Survivors Of Domestic Violence To Receive “Cycle For Change” Scholarships At Special Ceremony

Eight survivors of domestic violence, including an immigrant from Vietnam, and an Iraq war veteran, will receive “Cycle for Change” scholarships at a special ceremony that will take place on Friday, March 24, 2017, at 11:30 a.m. at the Villa Maria shelter, 920 S. Oregon.

El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal and Villa Maria shelter director Linda Velarde will present the scholarships to victims of domestic violence who requested financial assistance to pursue academic goals, or to fulfil needs such as therapeutic services, child care, or any other needs that might become an obstacle for them to move forward with their life.

The funds for the scholarships comes from the annual cycling tour Cycle for Change: From Surviving to Thriving,” which was held on October 23, 2016, at Gallegos Park. The event was created with the purpose of raising funds to help survivors of domestic violence break the cycle of violence and help them thrive in our community. More than 300 cyclists from the region participated in last year’s event helping us raise more than $10,000, a record-breaking amount for the event.

“One of the most disheartening realities one faces while trying to help survivors of domestic violence is to see those victims return to their abusive relationships within days of a violent incident. Often that happens because many of those victims lack self-esteem and the necessary skills to live independently. The idea behind this program is to financially assist those survivors in their journey to acquire those skills that will guarantee their independence, so that they can forever break the cycle of violence,” said El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal

“Any primary survivor of domestic violence who resides in El Paso County, regardless of their immigration status, is eligible to apply for a scholarship from the program,” Bernal concluded.

For more information about the program please visit our website www.cycle4change.org

WHO: Survivors of domestic violence, County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal and Villa Maria Director Linda Velarde.

WHAT: “Cycle for Change” Scholarship Awards Ceremony

WHEN: Friday March 24, 2017, at 11:30 a.m.

WHERE: Villa Maria Shelter, 920 S. Oregon

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2017 Cycle for Change Scholarship Program Press Release.pdf 

Ceremonia De Entrega De Becas 2017 “Cycle For Change” A Sobrevivientes De La Violencia Doméstica

Ocho sobrevivientes de la violencia doméstica, incluyendo una inmigrante de Vietnam y una veterana de la guerra de Iraq, recibirán becas “Cycle for Change” en una ceremonia especial que se realizará este viernes 24 de Marzo del 2017, a las 11:30 a.m. en el refugio Villa Maria, ubicado en el número 920 de la calle S. Oregon.

La Procuradora del Condado Jo Anne Bernal y la directora del refugio Villa Maria, Linda Velarde, entregarán las becas a sobrevivientes de la violencia doméstica que solicitaron apoyo financiero para alcanzar metas educativas, o para solventar necesidades personales, como terapias o servicios de guardería, que constituyen obstáculos para seguir superándose en la vida.

El dinero de las becas proviene del evento ciclista anual Cycle for Change: From Surviving to Thriving,” que se realizó el domingo 23 de Octubre del 2016 en el Parque Gallegos. Más de 300 ciclistas participaron el año pasado en el evento que logró recaudar la cantidad record de más de $10,000.

“Una de las realidades más desmoralizantes que uno enfrenta al tratar de ayudar a los sobrevivientes de la violencia doméstica es ver a esas víctimas regresar a su relación abusiva pocos días después de un incidente violento. Frecuentemente eso ocurre porque muchas de esas víctimas carecen del auto-estima y de las habilidades laborales y educativas para vivir independientemente. La idea detrás de este programa es ayudar económicamente a esos sobrevivientes de la violencia para que adquieran las habilidades que les permitan vivir independientemente y romper para siempre el ciclo de la violencia,” dijo la Procuradora del Condado de El Paso Jo Anne Bernal.

“Cualquier sobreviviente directo de la violencia domestica que resida en el Condado de El Paso, sin importar su situación migratoria, es elegible para aplicar para una beca del programa,” Bernal finalizó.

Para más información sobre el programa pueden llamar a la Procuraduría del Condado de El Paso, al teléfono (915) 546-2053 o visitar la página de internet www.cycle4change.org.

QUIÉN: Sobrevivientes de la violencia doméstica, Procuradora Jo Anne Bernal y Linda Velarde, Directora del refugio Villa Maria.

QUÉ: Ceremonia de entrega de becas “Cycle for Change.”

CUÁNDO: Viernes 24 de Marzo del 2017, a las 11:30 a.m.

DÓNDE: Refugio Villa Maria, 920 S. Oregon

# # #

 Boletin de Prensa Entrega Becas Cycle for Change 2017.pdf

Ceremonia De Entrega De Becas “Cycle For Change” A Sobrevivientes De La Violencia Doméstica 2016

El viernes 8 de Abril del 2016, a las 11 a.m., la Procuradora del Condado Jo Anne Bernal y la directora del refugio Villa Maria Linda Velarde, entregarán becas "Cycle for Change" correspondientes al semestre de primavera 2016 a cinco residentes del Condado de El Paso. El evento se realizará en el refugio Villa Maria ubicado en el número 920 de la calle S. Oregon.

Todas las mujeres galardonadas son sobrevivientes de la violencia doméstica que están luchando para superarse y triunfar en la vida. Los fondos de las becas pueden utilizarse para cualquier programa educativo o terapéutico que ayude a la víctima a aumentar su auto-estima y ayudarle a escapar el ciclo de la violencia domestica.

El dinero de las becas proviene del evento ciclista "Cycle for Change: From Surviving to Thriving," que se realizó el domingo 18 de Octubre del 2015 en el Parque Gallegos. Más de 230 ciclistas participaron en el evento del año pasado.

"Como una organización que ayuda a decenas de víctimas de la violencia cada día, nos resulta sumamente triste que muchas de esas víctimas regresan a su relación abusiva pocos días después de un episodio violento. Esto sucede porque esas víctimas no cuentan con las herramientas o el apoyo que les permita salir delante de manera independiente," dijo la Procuradora del Condado de El Paso Jo Anne Bernal.'

"Estamos orgullosos de que estas becas ayudarán a algunas de esas víctimas a salir adelante y romper finalmente y para siempre el ciclo de la violencia doméstica," Bernal finalizó.

El programa de becas está disponible para cualquier sobreviviente primario de la violencia doméstica que resida en el Condado de El Paso, sin importar su estatus legal en este país.

Para más información sobre el programa pueden llamar a la Procuraduría del Condado de El Paso, al teléfono (915) 546-2053.

QUIÉN:        Procuradora Jo Anne Bernal, Linda Velarde, Directora del refugio Villa María, y sobrevivientes de la violencia doméstica.

QUÉ:            Ceremonia de entrega de becas "Cycle for Change."

CUÁNDO:  Viernes 8 de Abril del 2016, a las 11:00 a.m.

DÓNDE:      Refugio Villa Maria, 920 S. Oregon

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 Boletin de Prensa Entrega Becas Cycle for Change 2016.pdf

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Ceremony To Award The Spring 2016 “Cycle For Change” Scholarships To Survivors Of Domestic Violence

On Friday, April 8, 2016, at 11 a.m., El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal and Villa Maria shelter director Linda Velarde will award five El Paso residents "Cycle for Change" scholarships for the Spring 2016 semester. The event will take place at the Villa Maria shelter, 920 S. Oregon.

All the scholarship recipients are survivors of domestic violence who are fighting to overcome obstacles to succeed in life. The funds can be used to pursue academic goals, or to fulfil needs such as therapeutic services, child care, or any other needs that might become an obstacle for the survivor of violence to move forward with their life and increase their self-esteem.

The money for the scholarships comes from the annual cycling tour "Cycle for Change: From Surviving to Thriving," which was held on October 18, 2015, at Gallegos Park. The event was created with the purpose of raising funds to help survivors to move beyond breaking the cycle of domestic violence, to thriving as a survivor of the social disease. More than 230 cyclists from the region participated in last year's event.

"As an organization that daily helps dozens of victims of domestic violence, it is disheartening to see that many of them return to their abusive relationships within days of a violent episode. This happens because the victims don't have the tools or skills to survive on their own and to break the cycle of violence," said El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal  

"We are happy that these scholarships will help some of those victims to move forward with their lives and break away from the cycle of violence," Bernal concluded.

The scholarship program is open to any primary survivor of a domestic violence relationship who resides in El Paso County, regardless of their legal status in this country.

WHO:       County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal, Villa Maria Director Linda Velarde and survivors of domestic violence

WHAT:     "Cycle for Change" Scholarship Awards Ceremony

WHEN:     Friday April 8, 2016, at 11:00 a.m.

WHERE:  Villa Maria Shelter, 920 S. Oregon

 # # #

2016 Cycle for Change Scholarship Program Press Release.pdf

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Three El Paso-area Bars Shut Down Permanently as a Result of Law Enforcement Operations by TABC and the El Paso County Attorney’s Office

“Operation Three Thorns” results in 59 felony charges

EL PASO - Three central El Paso bars with confirmed association to the violent Barrio Azteca gang shut their doors permanently today after surrendering their TABC licenses as part of a pre-trial settlement entered last week in the 327th District Court.

The Golden Nugget Bar, located at 5711 Trowbridge; the Doll House Bar, located at 5715 Trowbridge; and the George Washington Lounge, located at 3900 Montana, were all facing contempt charges for violating court orders stemming from a nuisance abatement lawsuit filed by the County Attorney’s Office.

TABC approached the El Paso County Attorney’s Office to seek restraining orders and injunctions against the three bars using the Texas Nuisance Abatement statute, as well as Section 101.01 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code. On August 29, 2014, 41st District Judge Annabel Perez granted temporary restraining orders ruling the establishments be immediately closed until a court date could be set. On September 12, 2014, the three bars were allowed to re-open after agreeing to a court order setting certain conditions for them to operate, including not violating the TABC and Texas Nuisance laws, in addition to taking affirmative steps to curb criminal activity in their bars.

In an effort to ensure compliance with the court orders and other state laws, TABC conducted additional investigations after the bars re-opened. Investigators found the three bars were continuing to engage in criminal activity and had violated the court ordered agreement. Using these investigations, El Paso County Attorney’s Office filed a motion for contempt with the 327th Judicial District Court. Even after this motion was filed, the El Paso Police Department conducted its own investigation of the bars and found that the criminal activity continued. Based on these new findings, a supplemental violation for contempt was filed May 8, 2015.

Rather than go through with the hearings on these motions for contempt, the owners of the three bars agreed to the cancellation of their TABC licenses. As a result of the cancellation, the bars were forced to shut down. In addition, state law prohibits the owners of the bars from obtaining a TABC permit to sell alcohol for a minimum of one year.

“While the vast majority of TABC-licensed businesses are in full compliance of the law, occasionally there are a few bad operators and steps must be taken to prevent them from being a nuisance to public safety and the overall quality of life in the community,” said Dexter K. Jones, TABC Assistant Chief of Audit and Investigations. “Thanks to our partnership with the El Paso County Attorney’s Office and investigators from federal, state and local agencies, we were able to curtail the potential for criminal activity in the area. We will continue to investigate those involved with this case, and will likely pursue further charges as the investigation continues.”

“The closing of these three bars demonstrates the power of community members, law enforcement agencies and the County of El Paso working together to clean up El Paso,” said Jo Anne Bernal, El Paso County Attorney. “Nuisance abatement laws serve a very important purpose by allowing us to confront property and business owners who do not make any reasonable effort to curb criminal activity on their premises. These laws encourage community cooperation to make our neighborhoods safer.”

-30-

Contacts:

Assistant Chief Dexter Jones, TABC - Audit and Investigations, 512-206-3300

Captain Ron Swenson, TABC - Special Investigations Unit, 512-206-3300

Chris Porter, TABC - Public Information Officer, 512-206-3462

TABC Three Thorns Press Release.pdf 

Golden Nugget Agreed Order for Contempt.pdf 

Washington Lounge Agreed Order for Contempt.pdf 

Doll House Agreed Order for Contempt.pdf 

Far-East El Paso County Residents To Receive Free Assistance To Execute “Medical Wills”

As part of an ongoing campaign to promote the use of the “living wills,” tomorrow attorneys from the El Paso County Attorney’s Office will be visiting 3 nutrition centers in Fabens, San Elizario, and Clint, to offer free assistance regarding advance care planning and advance directive forms.

This is the schedule of free legal clinics for Thursday April 9, 2015:

10:00 a.m Fabens Nutrition Center

201 Camp, Fabens, TX 79838

11:00 a.m. Presidio Palms in San Elizario

12960 Alnor St. San Elizario, TX 79849

12:00 p.m. Clint Nutrition Center

200 N. San Elizario Rd., Clint, TX 79836

Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to convey your decisions about end-of-life care ahead of time. They provide a way for you to communicate your wishes to family, friends, and health care professionals, and to avoid confusion later on.

A Directive to Physicians or Living Will tells how you feel about care intended to sustain life. You can accept or refuse medical care. There are many issues to address, including:

  • The use of dialysis and breathing machines
  • If you want to be resuscitated if breathing or heartbeat stops
  • Tube feeding
  • Organ or tissue donation
  • Blood transfusions

A Medical Power of Attorney allows individuals to designate someone they trust to make health decisions if they are unable to do so.

Individuals interested in getting the Directive to Physicians and Medical Power of Attorney who are unable to attend can download the forms by visiting the County Attorney’s web page at www.epcounty.com/ca. The forms are available in both English and Spanish.

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Living Wills East El Paso Press Release.pdf 

Organizations Offer Free Assistance To Execute “Medical Wills”

El Paso County Attorney's Office and the University Medical Center of El Paso are partnering with the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP) to promote the use of Advance Medical Directives (“medical wills”) in the community, particularly among the beneficiaries of public housing programs in El Paso County. The pilot program was created to inspire, educate and empower the public about the importance of advance care planning.

As part of the campaign to promote the use of the “living wills,” attorneys from the County Attorney’s Office, and volunteers from the University Medical Center will be offering free assistance regarding advance care planning and advance directive forms on Tuesday April 7, 2015, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Paisano Green Community, 4000 E. Paisano St. All residents of El Paso County are encouraged to come and get assistance drafting their advance directives forms.

Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to convey your decisions about end-of-life care ahead of time. They provide a way for you to communicate your wishes to family, friends, and health care professionals, and to avoid confusion later on.

A Directive to Physicians or Living Will tells how you feel about care intended to sustain life. You can accept or refuse medical care. There are many issues to address, including:

  • The use of dialysis and breathing machines
  • If you want to be resuscitated if breathing or heartbeat stops
  • Tube feeding
  • Organ or tissue donation
  • Blood transfusions

A Medical Power of Attorney allows individuals to designate someone they trust to make health decisions if they are unable to do so.

As part of the program, the participating organizations will host similar events every month at different HACEP locations around El Paso. The events are open to the general public.

Individuals interested in getting the Directive to Physicians and Medical Power of Attorney forms can download them by visiting the County Attorney’s web page at www.epcounty.com/ca. The forms are available in both English and Spanish.

WHO: Volunteers from the County Attorney’s Office and UMC

WHAT: Free Assistance in drafting “Living Wills”

WHEN: Tuesday, April 7, 2015, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

WHERE: Paisano Green Community, 4000 E. Paisano St.

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2015 Living Wills Campaign Press Release 12.pdf 

El Paso Joins 73 Cities & Counties To Take Legal Action In Support Of Immigration Reforms

Cities For Immigration Action Sign On To Brief In Texas vs. United States Appeal; Urging Immediate Implementation of President Obama’s Immigration Reforms

Today’s Brief More Than Doubles the Number Of Local Gov’ts Supporting Immigration Action

73 Cities & Counties Signed On From 27 States, Representing 43 Million People Nationwide

(EL PASO, TX) —As part of Cities United for Immigration Action, County Judge Veronica Escobar announced today that El Paso will join 73 cities and counties to file a new friend-of-the-court brief in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the Texas vs. United States lawsuit, urging immediate implementation of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. The brief demonstrates robust support from the country’s largest cities – as well as its suburbs and rural areas – for the President’s reforms, which will provide temporary relief from deportation to immigrants with longstanding ties to the U.S. who pass a background check and meet other criteria.

The cities and counties – representing 43 million people across the country – argue that the district court judge who temporarily blocked implementation of the programs failed to consider the significant harms to America’s local governments caused by this delay. Today’s brief more than doubles the number of local governments that had previously voiced opposition to the lawsuit brought by states seeking to block President Obama’s immigration reform efforts.

As part of Cities United for Immigration Action, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti led the effort to organize more than 70 cities and counties, the National League of Cities, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors in arguing that the national public interest is served clearly and overwhelmingly by implementing immigration relief by executive action without delay. The brief also argues that the District Court judge’s decision to block executive action with a preliminary injunction is bad for the economy, hurts families, threatens law enforcement priorities, and will stall desperately needed changes to the federal government’s immigration policies.

“Continuing to delay implementation of the President’s executive action on immigration hurts our economy and puts families at risk,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Cities are where immigrants live, and cities are where the President’s executive action will be successfully implemented. Our cities are united, and we will fight for the immigration reform this nation needs and deserves - whether in the courtroom, in Congress, or in our communities. Make no mistake about it: our voices will be heard.”

"We are steadfast on a concrete immigration policy that will keep families intact and the country's economic prosperity on the rise," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who established a Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. "This is a nonpartisan issue that should focus on people and not politics."

The brief demonstrates to the Court that executive action will benefit cities and counties by providing work authorization to millions, increasing local tax revenue, stimulating local economies, facilitating the civic engagement of immigrants, keeping families together, and improving public safety by strengthening our neighborhoods and communities. 

In addition, the brief argues that delay in implementation of the President’s executive action has significant costs for local economies and immigrant families. For example:

· New York City and New York State will lose out on at least $1.5 million for every month’s delay in additional state and local tax revenue that would be generated if 100,000 immigrants in New York City were able to access temporary work permits through executive action. Note: this is an estimate based on the City’s conservative analysis.

· The delay in implementation has forced mixed-status families (a number which is estimated to be in the millions) to continue to live in ongoing fear of deportation and separation, a situation that has profound emotional, educational, and health impacts on children.

This collective action to offer the Court the crucial perspective of American cities and counties is an outcome of the organizing efforts of the Cities United for Immigration Action coalition. By filing this brief, America’s mayors and county executives are making a strong statement in support of the President’s plan to grant administrative relief to over 4 million undocumented children and adults.

“Chicago has always been a city of immigrants and for us to stay true to our history and our values, we must ensure that immigrants can fully participate in all aspects of our economic and cultural life,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “We are proud to join numerous cities in filing this brief to support President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. They will help keep families together, increase safety in our communities, and maximize the contributions that immigrants make every day in every part of our city.”

“In Houston, more than 200,000 adults and children are waiting for the President’s immigration order to be implemented,” said Houston Mayor Annise Parker. “I remain confident that this will be only a temporary delay, but while we wait, confusion and frustration are growing. It’s long past time to allow all eligible law-abiding immigrants to come out of the shadows and be recognized as legally documented participants and contributors to our economy and society.”

“San Francisco continues to support our President's bold action on immigration to create the change we need to help our residents succeed,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “As the son of immigrants, this issue is very personal to me. Joining together with large and small cities from across the U.S. to appeal this decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, mayors must lead on immigration reform to provide all of our residents with hope, opportunities, and the services they deserve because we know our diversity drives our cities' economies and makes us all stronger.”


"I proudly stand with my fellow Mayors throughout the country in support of President Obama's executive actions on immigration that promote family stability, economic growth, and community cohesiveness. Mayors see firsthand the importance of having immigrant populations in our cities and likewise, the detrimental effects of a broken immigration system. As the child of immigrants, I know firsthand their desire to contribute to the social and economic fabric of their neighborhoods. In the absence of federal legislative immigration reform, these executive actions must be implemented to ensure our most vulnerable neighbors have the opportunity to be fully integrated into our communities,” said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh.

"It is time for America to stop breaking its promises – and its promise – to an entire generation of young people who were raised to believe in the American dream and are now being denied the chance to live it, and to contribute, in the same way immigrants have been contributing since the founding of this great nation.  I add my voice to the chorus of mayors in cities large and small who say the safety, health and well-being of our economies and our neighborhoods require that hundreds of thousands of families be allowed to emerge from the shadows and help us build stronger communities," said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock.

“El Paso County is proud to weigh in on the amicus brief and stands in support of President Obama's executive action on immigration. We believe the injunction blocking the executive action causes harm to communities like El Paso, where we have large immigrant communities and tens of thousands of families that would benefit from the rollout of DACA/DAPA. Our goal, like the President's, is to ensure we have safe communities, economic opportunity and strong families. We believe the injunction is a temporary setback and look forward to a favorable decision by the appellate court,” said El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar.


“Cities are strongly affected by immigration. The old, dysfunctional immigration policies hurt our economies, our neighborhoods, our businesses and our residents. The President is attempting to interject common sense and humanity. We are grateful for his efforts and we stand with him,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.

“St. Louis has new workers contributing to our economy, paying taxes, and helping to revitalize neighborhoods who want to know that they can continue to build a life safely in St. Louis,” said St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. “Delaying implementation of the Department of Homeland Security directives puts it all in jeopardy.”

“Cities understand the critical need for action to fix the nation’s broken immigration system,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker. “The National League of Cities stands behind President Obama's efforts to support millions of immigrants who contribute to our economy and continue to be a vibrant part of America’s communities.”

“It’s only common sense to bridge a gap between our government agencies and a segment of the population that already lives here and contributes to our communities and local economies. Why not embrace a policy that would fully integrate undocumented immigrants and at the same time bolster the country’s economy?” said HartfordMayor Pedro Segarra, co-chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Immigration Reform Task Force. “I’m confident the President’s Executive Action will prevail and I look forward to implementing its measures in Hartford.”

“I am signing onto this Brief because as a nation of immigrants, I believe ensuring access to a fair and legal process for people to come to this country and pursue their dreams reflects our highest values,” said Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt.

“We must do better to honor our country's proud immigration tradition. Too many immigrants live in fear, afraid to become members of our society, while Congress fails to take any meaningful action to fix a broken immigration system. Their inaction has real consequences for our communities, which is why I fully support President Obama's leadership and common sense executive actions. I thank Mayor de Blasio for initiating this brief and building this important coalition of leaders,” said Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

“Highland Park, IL is proud to stand with so many other cities across the United States in recognizing the immediate need to take action and provide impactful immigration reform,” said Highland Park, Illinois Mayor Nancy R. Rotering. “For so many of our friends and neighbors, this Executive Action will provide long awaited security for these new Americans and their families, in addition to strengthening our economy.”

Cities and counties signed on to today’s brief (in formation), include the following local governments. Numerous cities and counties are located in states that brought the lawsuit against the Obama administration or have otherwise indicated support for the lawsuit, including 5 cities and counties in Texas, 6 localities in New Jersey, 2 counties in Arizona, 3 municipalities in Wisconsin:

Alexandria, VA
Allentown, PA
Atlanta, GA
Austin, TX
Baltimore, MD
Bell, CA
Boston, MA
Bridgeport, CT
Buffalo, NY
Cambridge, MA               
Central Falls, RI
Chapel Hill, NC
Charleston, SC
Chicago, IL
Coconino County, AZ
Columbia, SC
Columbus, OH
Dallas County, TX
Dayton, OH
Denver, CO
Dolton, IL
El Paso County, TX
Everett, MA
Gary, IN
Haledon, NJ
Hartford, CT
Highland Park, IL
Hoboken, NJ
Holyoke, MA
Houston, TX
Jersey City, NJ
Kansas City, MO
Little Rock, AR
Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles County, CA
Lucas County, OH
Madison, WI
Milwaukee, WI
Minneapolis, MN
Montgomery County, MD
Newark, NJ
New York, NY
Niagara Falls, NY
North Miami, FL
Oakland, CA
Paterson, NJ
Philadelphia, PA
Pittsburgh, PA
Plainfield, NJ
Portland, OR
Providence, RI
Racine, WI
Ramsey County, MN
Rochester, NY
Salt Lake City, UT
San Francisco, CA
San Jose, CA
Santa Ana, CA
Santa Cruz County, AZ
Santa Fe, NM
Santa Monica, CA
Schenectady, NY
Seattle, WA
Skokie, IL
St. Louis, MO
State College, PA
Syracuse, NY
Tacoma, WA
Tampa, FL
Travis County, TX
Washington, D.C.
West Covina, CA
Yonkers, NY
National League of Cities
U.S. Conference of Mayors

# # #

El Paso County Files Legal Action in Support of Obama's Executive Orders on Immigration.pdf 

Brief for Amici Curiae.pdf 

El Paso County Attorney Releases the Names of Thousands of Individuals with Outstanding Hot-Check Warrants

As of Friday February 27, 2015, records of El Paso County indicate that the following individuals had a warrant for their arrest. A name placed on this list is not evidence of guilt. This information is prepared from public records and may not be current and should not be relied on for arrests or any other purposes. This list is informational only and is limited to misdemeanor “Theft by Check” cases. Although reasonable care is taken, clerical errors may exist. Searches based on a name are not always accurate due to use of middle/maiden/married names, or variations in spelling.

For more information regarding hot-check payments and balances please contact the El Paso County Attorney's Office Hot Check Unit at 546-2051. Individuals with outstanding warrants can make payments online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through “Hot Check ePay,” by visiting the El Paso County Attorney’s Office web-page at https://apps.epcounty.com/hotchecks/Forms/Search.aspx.

 2015 Warrant List.pdf

 

# # #

Local Organizations Unite To Offer Free Assistance To Execute “Medical Wills” on March 13, 2015

El Paso County Attorney's Office and the University Medical Center of El Paso are partnering with the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP) to promote the use of Advance Medical Directives (“medical wills”) in the community, particularly among the beneficiaries of public housing programs in El Paso County. The pilot program was created to inspire, educate and empower the public about the importance of advance care planning.

As part of the campaign to promote the use of the “living wills,” attorneys from the County Attorney’s Office, and volunteers from the University Medical Center will be offering free assistance regarding advance care planning and advance directive forms on Friday March 13, 2015, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Tays Community complex, 2201 San Antonio St. All residents of El Paso County are encouraged to come and get assistance drafting their advance directives forms.

Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to convey your decisions about end-of-life care ahead of time. They provide a way for you to communicate your wishes to family, friends, and health care professionals, and to avoid confusion later on.

A Directive to Physicians or Living Will tells how you feel about care intended to sustain life. You can accept or refuse medical care. There are many issues to address, including:

  • The use of dialysis and breathing machines
  • If you want to be resuscitated if breathing or heartbeat stops
  • Tube feeding
  • Organ or tissue donation
  • Blood transfusions

A Medical Power of Attorney allows individuals to designate someone they trust to make health decisions if they are unable to do so.

As part of the program, the participating organizations will another similar event in another HACEP housing complex in Central El Paso. The event will be free and open to the general public.

April 7, 2015

2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Paisano Green Community

4000 E. Paisano St.

El Paso, TX 79905

 

Individuals interested in getting the Directive to Physicians and Medical Power of Attorney forms can download them by visiting the County Attorney’s web page at www.epcounty.com/ca. The forms are available in both English and Spanish.

WHO: Volunteers from the County Attorney’s Office and UMC

WHAT: Free Assistance in drafting “Living Wills”

WHEN: Friday, March 13, 2015, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

WHERE: Tays Community Complex, 2201 San Antonio St.

2014 Living Wills Campaign Press Release 9.pdf 

Con Artist Sentenced To 6 Months In Jail After Pleading Guilty Of Swindling El Paso Entrepreneurs

El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal today announced that a northeast resident accused of taking thousands of dollars from local entrepreneurs was recently convicted and sentenced by a County Court judge.

On January 28, 2015, Johnny Ray Mills plead guilty to three counts of Deceptive Trade Practices stemming from two different cases.

In the first case, Mills plead guilty to one count of Deceptive Trade Practices for taking more than $3,200 from the owners of the restaurant franchise “Wing It,” to secure the rental of non-existent commercial property inside Fort Bliss. The victims also paid more than $300 to advertise their restaurants to soldiers and families at the military base, but the defendant never rendered the services. The offenses occurred between November and December 2013. For this case, County Court at Law #2 Judge Julie Gonzalez sentenced Mills to 180 days in jail.

In the second case, Mills plead guilty to two counts of Deceptive Trade Practices for taking almost $600 from the owner of “Tidal Wave Spas and Pool Supplies” to advertise the business at the Freedom Crossing Shopping Center. The incident occurred in November 20, 2013. Mills was charged with one count for offering services he was not authorized to offer, and with a second count for failing to deliver the advertising services he was paid to provide. County Court at Law #2 Judge Julie Gonzalez also sentenced Mills to 180 days in jail for each of the two charges. All the sentences will run concurrently.

El Paso County Attorney Jo Bernal said that these sentences should send a strong warning to those thinking about defrauding consumers in El Paso.

“Committing fraud against businesses or individuals in Texas, regardless of the amount, is a serious crime. Defendants can be sent to prison for several years,” Bernal said.

“If someone feels that has been the victim of an unscrupulous merchant, we are asking them to file a report with the local law enforcement agency as soon as possible, or call our office at (915) 546-2050,” Bernal concluded.

Johnny Mills Press Release.pdf 

 

# # #

Ceremonia De Entrega De Becas “Cycle For Change” A Sobrevivientes De La Violencia Doméstica

El viernes 9 de Enero del 2015, a las 2 p.m., la Procuradora del Condado Jo Anne Bernal y la directora del refugio Villa Maria Linda Velarde, entregarán becas “Cycle for Change” correspondientes al semestre de primavera 2015 a nueve residentes del condado de El Paso. El evento se realizará en el refugio Villa Maria ubicado en el número 920 de la calle S. Oregon.

Todas las mujeres galardonadas son sobrevivientes de la violencia doméstica que están luchando para superarse y triunfar en la vida. Los fondos de las becas pueden utilizarse para cualquier programa educativo o terapéutico que ayude a la víctima a aumentar su auto-estima y ayudarle a escapar el ciclo de la violencia domestica.

El dinero de las becas proviene del evento ciclista Cycle for Change: From Surviving to Thriving,” que se realizó el domingo 26 de Octubre del 2014 en el Parque Gallegos. Más de 200 ciclistas participaron en el evento del año pasado.

“Estamos muy contentos de poder ayudar a las víctimas de la violencia doméstica, no sólo durante la fase del crisis –cuando les ayudamos a obtener órdenes de protección- pero también proporcionándoles recursos para que puedan triunfar en la vida, haciendo a un lado la relación abusiva en la que vivían,” dijo la Procuradora del Condado de El Paso Jo Anne Bernal.’

El programa de becas está disponible para cualquier sobreviviente primario de la violencia doméstica que resida en el Condado de El Paso, sin importar su estatus legal en este país.

Para más información sobre el programa pueden llamar a la Procuraduría del Condado de El Paso, al teléfono (915) 546-2053.

QUIÉN: Procuradora Jo Anne Bernal, directora del refugio Villa Maria Linda Velarde, y sobrevivientes de la violencia doméstica.

QUÉ: Ceremonia de entrega de becas “Cycle for Change.”

CUÁNDO: Viernes 9 de Enero del 2015, a las 2:00 p.m.

DÓNDE: Refugio Villa Maria, 920 S. Oregon

# # #

Boletin de Prensa Entrega Becas Cycle for Change 2015.pdf 

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