Just last April, ACJP’s youngest member was at immigration court fighting deportation charges. Yesterday, he graduated eighth grade. In the fall of this year, he came back from an ICE detention facility after being referred there by San Mateo County probation. It’s been one tough year for this young man, but he’s got the love of his family and community to pull him through. Check out the campaign to stop juvenile ICE holds that ACJP De-Bug is working on with our allies in San Mateo County at www.stopdeportingyouth.com — Submission Post by Charisse Domingo
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
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
On October 21, 2011, just days after the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors passed a detainer policy praised by many community members, legal service providers, and immigrant rights advocates as one that balances public safety, honors civil rights, and protects immigrants, County Counsel Miguel Marquez sends off a letter to ICE notifying them of our County’s official stance. Click below to read the letter….
In what has been heralded as the most progressive policy in the nation, Santa Clara County today voted in a new set of guidelines for civil immigration detainers, which in effect ends the county’s collaboration with Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE). Continue reading
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
Unlike Santa Clara County that doesn’t honor ICE holds on juveniles, San Mateo County practices the unjust policy of honoring detainers for young people under 18. At ACJP, we’ve seen families come in with children as young as 12 who have had detainer requests placed on and honored in San Mateo County. This Sunday, we worked with two families from Redwood City whose children — ages 12 and 13 — both have ICE holds in San Mateo County. The younger one is so little that the clothes they gave him to wear at the hall don’t even fit him. This young man thought he just had to agree to the charges and then he could go home. But when he is released from the hall in mid-September, ICE has 48 hours to pick him up and he has to navigate the world of juvenile immigrant detention alone — a web of group homes, maybe a detention facility, maybe back home to fight his charges if he’s lucky. It is a policy that is cruel, and the community needs to raise our voices to stop it. Submission Post by Charisse Domingo