Creators of “participatory defense” – a community organizing model for people facing charges, their families, and communities to impact the outcome of cases and transform the landscape of power in the court system
“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….
On Friday, July 20, this family stopped the deportation of their brother and son, through their unstoppable will, and successfully beat the process that makes criminal courts a waiting room for immigration court. This was a long road, but their loved one will be home next week as a result, and they created a blueprint for other families. Submission Post by Raj Jayadev
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
About two weeks ago, Veronica and her family camped outside a juvenile detention facility hoping that their son won’t be picked up by immigration officials after he was placed on an ICE hold. However, to their dismay, ICE officials came. In this picture, Veronica, the mom on the left, and Adriana (her sister on the right) waits in an attorney’s office right outside the ICE detention facility in San Francisco. They were hoping that their son would be released to them right then and there and were waiting for a hearing, when Veronica got a phone call from her son that ICE had already put him on a bus and was an hour away heading to Sacramento. As of now, they are still awaiting a decision of whether their son can return to the family as he fights his deportation case. The words in the title of this post were spoken by Patricia, another aunt who would drive 8 hours from Riverside to attend her nephew’s court dates. With the family’s perseverance and community support, we know this family will bring their son back.
Powerful, and telling video about our current immigration enforcement policy. Tell us what you think after seeing this video. Twitter us at: https://twitter.com/#!/ACJProject
Quelino Ojeda Jimenez became a near quadriplegic who was paralyzed during a construction accident in Chicago talks to the Tribune about the controversial decision to send him back to his native Mexico.
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
After months of advocacy from San Jose immigrant advocacy organizations, civil rights groups, and service agencies — the San Jose police is withdrawing their participation from the controversial Homeland Security/ICE program called “Operation Community Shield.” Initial news of the program drew a widespread backlash from immigrant communities who said placing two ICE agents within the SJPD would cause waves of distrust in local law enforcement. Groups such as Sacred Heart Community Services, SIREN, PACT, and De-Bug organized public community responses to share their message that community trust is an important feature of a smart public safety framework. Today, the SJPD sent out the following press release.
San Jose Police Chief Chris Moore has announced that the San Jose Police Department is concluding its partnership with Homeland Security Investigations as part of Operation Community Shield (OCS).
The San Jose Police Departments involvement in OCS began on June 24th as part of Chief Moores plan to halt an alarming increase in gang violence in the city. Other components to the plan involved redirecting the 38 member METRO Unit to focus on All gangs, all the time. The METRO Unit has since made over 315 arrests. Approximately 70% of the arrests have been gang-related. Chief Moore also directed the Patrol Division to deploy additional officers as daily gang suppression cars to further decrease gang violence. Continue reading →
When ACJP attends ICE immigration court dates, we often saw people handcuffed, and treated like criminals for civil proceedings. ACLU is taking on their practice, by launching a lawsuit. According to the Associated Press article, the ACLU attorneys say, “say thousands of immigration detainees — even the elderly and people with physical or mental disabilities — are routinely forced to wear wrist shackles, belly chains and leg irons during the civil proceedings, even if they do not pose a flight risk or other possible danger.”
A Washington Post Columnist opines on Homeland Security’s recent announcement that they are rescinding the MOU’s with jurisdictions — essentially saying they never needed them, and that they can force the controversial program on states and counties despite local jurisdictions saying they want to opt out. While the move impacts some immigrants advocates’ strategies, better believe civil rights groups are not giving up on ending the program.
By Esther J. Cepeda
CHICAGO — Draconian. Rogue. Dangerous. Flawed.
These are just some of the words used to describe the Department of Homeland Security’s Secure Communities program, which, if it hasn’t already, will soon be coming to a community near you.
In a stunning defeat for immigration rights advocates who were celebrating in June after several states, including Barack Obama’s home state of Illinois, declared they’d no longer be participating, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced last week that it was terminating all existing memorandums of agreement with individual jurisdictions — to send the clear message that the program is not voluntary and cannot be declined. Continue reading →