Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., immigrants in these Sanctuary cities have become targets for ICE, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. From September 26 through September 30, “Operation Safe City” was an attack on cities with “sanctuary” policies. ICE claims sanctuary cities allow violent criminals to prosper under the legitimate safety. Sanctuary is a term used by city officials, police, and institutions with civil records that will not help or provide any information toward the persecution of any undocumented individuals. It has been adopted by many campuses, cities, counties, and states who stand in solidarity with those affected by Trump’s deportation crackdown and more recently, the phasing out of DACA. Chabot College is eagerly awaiting the approval by the Chabot College/Las Positas College District Board of Trustees for Chabot to stand as a sanctuary campus.
Tom Homan, the acting director of ICE, accused the cities of protecting criminal aliens from appropriate prosecution claiming, “ICE is forced to dedicate more resources to conduct at-large arrests in these communities.” One hundred and sixty seven people were arrested in and around Los Angeles, 21 in the Santa Clara County, 6 in San Francisco with a total of 498 arrests nationwide. Federal authorities said the ICE operation this week focused on those with criminal convictions, gang members, and immigration fugitives. They added, people protected under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, were not targeted.
However, “Trust within immigrant communities shall not erode,” Malena Mayorga says “Trump’s Administration is working hard but so are the communities by educating themselves in legal defense and awareness.” Malena works for Mujeres Unidas y Activas a grass roots organization that promotes personal transformation and building community power for social and economic justice.
She states, “There are three main components for individuals to defend themselves. First, we must educate ourselves, encounters with ICE can be tricky, and if we don’t know our rights, ICE will have the upper hand. Second, there are legal services available, and ready to help against detention and deportation by providing representation and consultation. Third, at any sight of an ICE enforcement, please call the Rapid Response network hotline at (510) 241-4011. They will dispatch trained volunteer legal observers to document the encounter, track ICE’s strategies and connect to legal services immediately.”
There are support organizations such as Alameda County Immigration Legal Education Partnership (ACILEP) and Alameda County United in Defense Immigration Rights (ACUDIR). ACILEP specializes in connecting folks with “Know Your Rights” workshops and training for legal observers. ACUDIR takes action against the Sheriff’s cooperation with ICE and packs courts to support immigration cases. For any immigration defense questions email [email protected].
Throughout the nation, many city-officials conclude the ICE raids are a result of the cities noncooperation with the Trump administration’s executive plans. This series of raids occurred just as California Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign SB54, which would prevent police from arresting people for immigration violations without a warrant, among other prohibitions. Our community will continue to stand in solidarity against this type of oppression, Trump’s administration’s actions will test us.