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Immigration ruling impacts public safety according to APD Chief

The Supreme Court's deadlock on the White House's efforts to shield millions who are living in the U.S. illegally from deportation is a major victory-by-default for Texas and 25 other Republican-dominated states. Their arguments that President Barack Obama was overstepping his executive authority thwarted what might otherwise have been legacy-defining policy. (KEYE TV)

For more than a year, Austin's top cop has said public safety is at stake with the immigration ruling. As the issue made its way through the court system, Chief Art Acevedo joined law enforcement across the country in arguing that the president's plan would improve public safety but blocking it would harm law enforcements' efforts. A 13 page legal brief was submitted in January of 2015.

A vigil was held Thursday night outside the Governor's mansion on Colorado Street as the 4-4 Supreme Court tie left in place an appeals court ruling that blocks the plan.

"I was like, I'm nothing...I'm like a shadow. I'm like nothing," said Alejandra Olvera.

Olvera is an undocumented immigrant. She's been fighting for a path to legal status for over a decade and on the night of the Supreme Court's ruling, she feels like a tree that is bent from the storm, but isn't broken.

"I deserve a better life for me and for my babies," said Olvera.

A large crowd gathered outside the Governor's mansion, hoping he will hear their cries.

"Too many families have lived in fear for too long and because of our governor's actions our community cannot participate fully in our school system, with our public safety officers and that does us all an incredible disservice," said Jose Garza, the Executive Director of the Workers Defense Project.

The group says undocumented immigrants are some of the most vunerable in a community and often become targeted crime victims.

"They often suffer the most injustices," said Garza.

In the 2015 legal brief, Chief Acevedo and other law enforcement make the case that undocumented immigrants are less likely to report crimes. Even though a U Visa may be available to give a crime victim legal status for four years.

"The U visa is phenomenal. It's humanitarian. It helps the community," said immigration attorney Gloria Ortiz.

But fear is what holds them back. That's why Austin activists say it's important to keep moving immigration reform forward.

"This is not the end of the fight this is the beginning," said Garza.

Chief Acevedo was not available for immediate comment on Thursday on the Supreme Court's immigration ruling but KEYE TV will follow up with the chief on this issue and how it impacts public safety.

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