Rosario came to us at De-Bug last week for assistance regarding her son who had an immigration detainer hold at San Mateo County’s juvenile hall. We helped her create a “mitigation packet” — a package of letters, photos, and history that would be used to tell the fuller story of her son. He had already spent a good 7 months at camp, had an excellent report card, supportive probation officers, and a dedicated mom who kept every single certificate her son earned in school and at camp. In San Mateo County, Probation Chief John Keene stopped the practice of referring juveniles to ICE on a routine basis, except for ‘rare and exceptional cases’ — in which he would have the sole power of deciding whether or not to transfer a youth to ICE custody. This practice came after a four year campaign by the San Mateo County Coalition for Immigrants Rights, which De-Bug is a part of, to reverse this harsh policy. This mitigation packet was to be presented to the Chief to ask him not to enforce an ICE hold on Rosario’s son.
Media coverage, and our own media, chronicling the culmination of a year long campaign to beat back a challenge to our county’s immigrant detainer policy. This win for public safety & immigrants rights is a result of efforts by the FIRE Coalition, the Public Defender’s Office, and wisdom of the BOS. (Click here or image to go to Storify page that has videos, articles, infographics, tweets, and more from the win!)
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
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
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
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.
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….
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
On the frontlines protesting ICE’s arbitrary rules under S-COMM are immigrant families pushing against the program’s implementation of nationwide deportations. Documentary photographer, journalist, and organizer David Bacon captures these images at a recent protest against ICE.
Photos by David Bacon (dbacon.igc.org)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – 12AUGUST11 – Immigrants, unions, churches and social service organizations march through downtown San Francisco to the office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a division of the Department of Homeland Security. They protested an ICE decision to implement the Secure Communities enforcement program, which has resulted in hundreds of thousands of deportations, even though some states have tried to withdraw from their implementation agreements with ICE. California legislators are poised to pass a bill calling on the state to do so also. Many immigrants brought their children to show that the impact of increased enforcement is the separation of families when some members are deported.
Three years after Department of Homeland Security first rolled out the “Secure Communities Program” which sent fingerprints of those accused of a crime at the moment of arrest from the jails to ICE, DHS reveals they never needed state consent to participate in the program anyway. Immigrant rights organizations are angry, yet are not surprised by DHS’s latest move — which many feel is just part of their business-as-usual tactic to skirt transparency and ultimately deport undocumented immigrants at all costs.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 5, 2011
CONTACT: Cynthia Bell, (202) 675-2312; firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been able to cite only one statutory provision to support its position: 8 U.S.C. § 1722, part of the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act (EBSA). But EBSA does not authorize the federal government to commandeer states’ resources to screen individuals in state and local custody.
“Three years after introducing Secure Communities, DHS changed the rules of the game by setting aside all the agreements that states negotiated in good faith. Today’s announcement is the latest in a long line of deceptive DHS theatrics and is an insult to governors and state leaders who signed these agreements, which now amount to nothing more than the paper they’re printed on. DHS has recklessly inflicted S-Comm on states and localities across the country without any legal justification for the program,” said Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office.