Officer Daniel Segura has been hearing more and more fears from the city’s Spanish-speaking community in the wake of President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration and the border, so he took to social media to try to calm them.
“If you are a victim of a crime, we don’t care about your immigration status — you have the same rights as anyone else who lives in Fort Worth. We are going to defend you. We are going to protect you,” Segura said in Spanish during a nearly six-minute-long video called “Calma amigos! (Calm down, friends)” that he posted on his personal Facebook page Wednesday. By Thursday afternoon it had received more than 800,000 views.
After the Star-Telegram reported about the video, Mayor Betsy Price and the Police Department made it clear that Segura wasn’t speaking for them or the city as a whole.
“Fort Worth follows federal immigration laws and is unequivocally not a sanctuary city,” Price said in a statement. “The video posted by Officer Segura was not an official statement approved by the City of Fort Worth nor the Fort Worth Police Department.”
In a separate statement, the Police Department said that it “enforces all laws, protects all its citizens, and is not a sanctuary city.”
Segura said in an interview with the Star-Telegram that he was getting “constant” messages from scared residents.
“I know it is trending and everyone is worried about it,” he said.
Police departments need to better inform the public about how cases involving immigrants are handled, he said. The video, which drew thank-yous in English and Spanish by his followers, is an attempt to do that.
Segura said in the video that Fort Worth police are not immigration officers, so victims of crime can seek help without fear of deportation.
In its statement Thursday, the Police Department said that Segura “addressed citizen concerns regarding fear among some of our residents of being possibly targeted by the police. Officer Segura released a video on Facebook to calm and better inform those who had concerns. The video was not intended to represent the views of the City of Fort Worth on immigration or compliance with immigration policies.”
In this political atmosphere immigrants and immigrant activists worry about people who live and work in the shadows because they lack immigration status.
“Every day is a challenge,” said Gloria Gonzalez-Garcia, a Fort Worth advocate who herself has family members who don’t have immigration papers. “We know the media and Trump administration dictates that only criminals will be deported, but we also know that is not the case.”
Gonzalez-Garcia said the immigration community is also worried about racial profiling and potential abuses in authority.
Segura said told the Star-Telegram that the concern in law enforcement is that crime victims won’t seek the help of police.
“That’s what we don’t want,” Segura said.