(Los Angeles) The City Council today passed a resolution opposing the discredited “Se Communities” jail deportation program, amid growing calls for the California TRUST ACT, legislation moving in Sacramento which would limit California’s participation, and ensure local police’s ability to opt-out of the program.
The resolution is part of a turning tide against the Obama Administration’s discredited jail deportation program.
Pablo Alvarado, Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network commented, “The tide is turning on the dangerous, dishonest ‘se communities’ program. S-COMM was sold to the American public by DHS under false pretenses. It’s snake oil. It makes communities less safe, it imperils civil rights, and it is poisoning political efforts to reform unjust immigration laws. Today, Los Angeles said very clearly it isn’t ing the snake oil, and the City Council has taken action to prevent the Arizonification of our community.
There is an urgent need for the TRUST Act in California, and an end to the program all together. Se Communities has become a symbol of President Obama’s broken promises on immigration reform. Ending it would be a concrete step to repair that trust, and it would be the first step on a path to immigration reform. ”
Los Angeles City Councilmember Reyes said, “We need to end this ugliness, the meanness of federal policies that are punitive to vulnerable people. This is not the America we want.”
Michel Moore, Assistant Chief of Special Operations of the LA Police Department, reaffirmed, “Undocumented status is of no interest to the department. Se Communities undermines our ability to maintain trust and communication with communities. Trust and communication that’s essential to ensure their safety.”
Councilmember Huizar stated, “We say no thank you to the federal government. We say no to s-comm.”
More than a year ago, Washington DC, Arlington, VA, San Francisco, and Santa Clara, CA sought to opt-out of what was originally represented as a voluntary deportation program, “Se Communities.” The actions of those cities has escalated to a domino effect of states seeking out of the now discredited program, attempting reforms, or pledging not to participate in the case of those yet to sign-on.
In the past month, Governor Quinn of Illinois and Governor Cuomo of New York announced their suspension of the program and the cancellation of the memorandum of agreements between their states and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Observing how S-Comm has been implemented in other states, Massachusetts Governor Patrick announced Monday that his state would not sign on to the program. In California, a bill that would regulate the program and reinforce its voluntary nature, the TRUST Act, recently passed the Assembly and is awaiting vote in the Senate.
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren has said DHS has been “essentially lying to local government” about the program. Her calls for a thorough investigation have corresponded with requests by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to immediately suspend the program.
The Oakland City Council is scheduled to pass a similar resolution this evening.
The National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) is a plaintiff in an on-going FOIA lawsuit against DHS/ICE for access to documents related to the Se Communities Program. NDLON plays a central role in California advocacy for the TRUST Act and coordinates the Turning the Tide campaign.