Sentencing Project and First Focus Publication: “Children in Harm’s Way”

Screen Shot 2013-02-06 at 3.57.27 PM“It was the policy of the San Mateo County juvenile probation department to report youth to immigration enforcement officials regardless of the nature of their juvenile offense and before youth had even seen a juvenile court judge or met with their defense attorneys. In Yareli’s case, she had no idea that she was talking to an ICE official. She explained, “My probation officer asked me ‘do you have papers?’ I said no. I can’t lie to them, so I said no. Then they told me to go talk to this person. He just started asking me questions, and at  the end he said, ‘By the way, I’m an ICE agent.”

…The underlying purpose of the juvenile justice system is to rehabilitate youth and protect the community. In California, for example, the goals of the juvenile justice system include providing treatment that is in the minor’s best interest, rehabilitating youth, and preserving and reuniting families. Reporting youth to ICE directly undercuts these goals because it renders youth vulnerable to physical and emotional harm, undermines their prospects for rehabilitation, weakens family ties, and violates the foundational principles of the juvenile justice system to help youth successfully transition into adulthood.”

– Excerpt from “Two-Tiered System for Juveniles”, co-written by Angie Junck (ILRC), Charisse Domingo (De-Bug), and Helen Beasley (CLSEPA)

The Sentencing Project and First Focus released a new publication this month called “Children In Harm’s Way” that highlights the experiences of those caught in the crossroads of the criminal justice, immigration, and child welfare systems.  One of the articles, “Two Tiered System for Juveniles” was co-authored by Charisse Domingo with Silicon Valley De-Bug’s ACJP, along with Angie Junck from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center and Helen Beasley from Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto.  This article highlights the practice of juvenile ICE holds in San Mateo County and the local coalition’s efforts to stop it.  It also features the story of an ACJP family who directly experienced the effects of this policy, and won her case through family, community and legal support.  To read their article and the full report, click here….

Screen Shot 2013-02-06 at 4.11.35 PM

“Change the World From Here”

This is a photo taken in front of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in San Francisco.  Adults who are jailed and youth who are detained and catch an ICE hold are sent to this facility so they could be processed for immigration proceedings.  One East Palo Alto youth remembers being shackled upon her release from Hillcrest Juvenile Detention facility in San Mateo County, put in a van where you can’t see what’s outside, and then taken here.  She was then placed in a room for “hours and hours” until she was put on a plane to go to a group home in Southern California, where she spent four months before being reunited with her family to fight her deportation proceedings.  

The flag that flies on a street pole by the detention facility reads “Change the World From Here”.  In a place filled with fear and uncertainty, hope comes in the form of the families who fight tenaciously for their loved ones’ release.  They all walk in the metal doors of the building knowing that they will bring their loved one home.  — Submission Post by Charisse Domingo

A Day in Immigration Court with a 14-Year Old Defendant Facing Deportation

This is a photo of ACJP De-Bug’s youngest member — only 14 years old, who had an immigration court proceeding today in San Francisco.  He’s been coming to our weekly meetings for months now with his family and we’ve grown to know and love his quiet strength.

Scanning the courtroom, he was also the youngest person there who was facing deportation.  The air was thick with apprehension, of not knowing what was going to happen, and greater than that — of the fear of ICE agents coming into court right then and there.  In the waiting room that looks like a doctor’s office, the brown faces from Mexico, Central America, and Asia are furrowed.  But this young man has incredible courage, far more than what he realizes himself.  He stares down at his paperwork the whole time.  The pro-bono attorney of the day rapidly runs through paperwork to give him and says will ask for a continuance.  She battle-runs through the same set of questions we had seen her ask the Chinese person before us, and the Latino couple right before him.  “Where are you from?”  “Where is your family?”  — All questions that are loaded and sterile at the same time, given the place we were at this morning.

They call his name from the bench and the pro-bono attorney motions with two fingers to come to the front.  “You’re not alone up there,” I told him.  “I know,” he says. “God is with me.”  And he smiles.  It’s only 5 minutes that he’s up there, but the wait was about an hour and a half.  From the audience, I tell myself it’s all procedural today, but every pause of the judge pushes me closer to the edge of my seat.  At the end, another court date is set, and he breathes a sigh of relief outside. He looks up again and can’t wait to run to his mom.

Young people should be thinking about school, sports, what music they like — not deportation proceedings. I am hoping the human side of the immigration system breaks through for this young man, and for all young people and their families.  – Submission Post by Charisse Domingo

National Immigration Project Releases “All In One Guide To Defeating ICE Hold Requests”

Authored by Lena Graber of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the “All In One Guide To Defeating ICE Hold Requests” is designed to help communities disentangle local police policy and practices from immigration enforcement.  ACJP at De-Bug has been one of the key organizations in the Santa Clara County FIRE (Forum for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment) Coalition that helped secure the most progressive detainer policy in the nation, spearheaded on the Board level by Supervisor George Shirakawa.  Our Coalition’s yearlong efforts are featured on this guide.  As we’ve always asserted, it’s not public safety vs. immigrant rights, but public safety THROUGH immigrant rights. Post submission by Charisse Domingo

San Francisco Bay Guardian: SF Supervisors Urge City To Defy Federal Immigration Holds

The Santa-Clara-fication spreads.  Last week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a similar policy to Santa Clara urging the City to limit cooperation with federal immigration officials and not spend county resources to do ICE’s job.  Great job to the San Francisco Immigrant Rights Defense Committee for pushing this forward, and to Supervisor Eric Mar for sponsoring the resolution.  We need more and more of our jurisdictions to turn the tide against the criminalization of immigrants.  Post by Charisse Domingo

 

SF supervisors urge city to defy federal immigration holds

by Steven Jones
12/14/11

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors yesterday (Tues/13) approved a resolution calling for the city to adopt stronger policies for resisting federal efforts to deport undocumented immigrants who live here. It is the latest move to support the city’s Sanctuary City status and counter the federal Secure Communities (S-Com) program, a new database that allows the feds to circumvent local policies protecting local immigrants who have been arrested but not convicted of any crimes.

Continue reading

Santa Clara County DA’s Office to Now Consider “Collateral Consequences” — Policy Shift Bodes Well for Immigrants

Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen

As stated in a recently released document, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office announced they will change their policy regarding the consideration of collateral consequences (such as possible deportation consequences for a minor conviction) when negotiating plea agreements. The memo states, “It is not generally the duty of a prosecutor to mitigate the collateral consequences to a defendant of his or her crime. However, in those cases where the collateral consequences are significantly greater than the punishment for the crime itself, it is incumbent upon the prosecutor to consider and, if appropriate, take reasonable steps to mitigate those collateral consequences.”  Continue reading