As ICE Reports Record Numbers, Two Cities Seek to Ensure Public Safety and Civil Rights By Limiting Agency’s Overreach
Today Washington, DC Mayor Vincent Gray took strong steps to protect district residents from harmful immigration enforcement programs as Santa Clara, CA passed new legislation that leads the nation in setting the standard how to do so. After Santa Clara’s 3-1 vote banning county resources from being used to assist ICE in the enforcement of federal civil immigration laws, beyond what is legally required, Supervisor Shirakawa commented, “Today, Santa Clara County makes it official, we don’t do ICE’s job.”
Last year, the two cities were the first in the country to “opt-out” of the discredited Se Communities deportation program.
Now that the federal government has attempted to force their participation through the legally dubious maneuver of declaring the program as mandatory, cities are registering their opposition by seeking new methods to limit ICE’s overreach into local jurisdictions. DC’s executive order brings new transparency and safeguards to the justice system’s interaction with ICE while Santa Clara voted to decline to use any of its resources to respond to ICE’s civil immigration holds.
Sarahi Uribe, organizer for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, explains, “DC should be proud that our city officials continue to strive to protect all the city’s residents. As a result of the Mayor’s order today, everyone in the city is safer. We’ll continue to work together to keep addressing the risks of harmful immigration enforcement.”
Mackenzie Baris, Lead Organizer with DC Jobs with Justice added, “This is a good step in continuing to ensure there’s a bright line between our local police and criminal justice system and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. As our communities face growing threats by expanding ICE interior enforcements we will continue to ensure that families are safe and people rights are protected regardless of their status.”
“Santa Clara County is home to a diverse immigrant community and as residents of this county, we believe that all county practices should strive to keep families together and protect the human and civil rights of all people. Therefore, we applaud the Board of Supervisors for leading the way and doing what is right for our county. This policy sends a clear message to immigrant communities that local law enforcement is not ICE,” says Jazmin Segura, Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network.
“Santa Clara County sets a positive example for other localities across the country, first by being one of the first localities in the nation to declare its intention to opt out of S-Comm, and now by passing the most progressive anti-immigration enforcement policy in the nation. This policy demonstrates that local participation in the enforcement of immigration laws is not mandatory and that due process and equal under the law applies to all persons in the U.S.,” said Angie Junck, Staff Attorney with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.
Similar policies have been implemented in Cook County, IL and San Francisco, CA. A new report released today from the Warren Institute condemning the overreach of Se Communities validates the cities’ new policies. Santa Clara’s new policy can be read at http://bit.ly/sccice