Just as ICE was in the middle of last week’s 4-day raid in the Bay Area, in which over 230 people were arrested, Contra Costa County launched its rapid-response deportation defense initiative.
One of the centerpieces of this program is a free hotline which can be accessed 24 hours per day. People can call the hotline to report ICE activity, or if someone they know has been detained by ICE. Dispatchers will be on call to verify raids or dispel rumors, provide legal observation and accompaniment to family members left behind, work with family to gather information to support legal defense due process services and coordinate with assigned attorneys for individuals in bond and removal proceedings.
The hotline comes from Stand Together Contra Costa, a coalition effort with the County to ensure that all families, regardless of immigration status, are afforded the due-process rights established by the U.S. Constitution. The program was approved by the Board of Supervisors last year in response to the growing hate and discrimination toward immigrant families.
The free, 24-hour hotline number is: 925-900-5151
The program's website, StandTogetherContraCosta.org, provides services in 10 different languages. Please share these resources with those you think may need assistance.
Other free services provided by Stand Together Contra Costa include legal help, trainings, and workshops. Those interested in being trained as a legal observer can attend Stand Together’s training tonight, March 6 from 6:30 – 9pm at Catholic Charities of the East Bay – Family Services Center (3540 Chestnut Ave, Concord).
Governor Brown recently signed into law AB 291 (Chiu), the Immigrant Tenant Protection Act, which will go into effect on January 1, 2018. In the context of Trump’s election and the escalating housing crisis in the Bay Area, too many tenants found themselves having to choose between the risk of homelessness and the risk of deportation if they stood up for their rights. The law prohibits landlords from disclosing information about a tenant’s immigration status in order to pressure them to move, and also makes discrimination based on immigration status illegal.
Richmond City Council Members Jovanka Beckles, Eduardo Martinez, Gayle McLaughlin, Melvin Willis, and Ben Choi marched alongside other Richmond Progressive Alliance members at the 2017 Cinco de Mayo Parade. In front of a banner that said "Say No to Trump," the RPA brought a message of tolerance and inclusion to the Latino and immigrant community of Richmond.
Photos by Juan Reardon, Jeffrey Kilbreth, and Mike Parker.
Let’s have some fun on Cinco de Mayo and bring our RPA solidarity to the Latino community.
This is an invitation to ALL MEMBERS of the RPA to march together on this special Cinco de Mayo celebration, held in Richmond on Saturday, May 6th. We will march behind an RPA sign reading:
RICHMOND SAYS NO TO TRUMP
The California Values Act, SB 54, cleared an important hurdle on Monday, and is poised to move to a full Senate vote. The bill would prohibit state and local law enforcement from acting as federal immigration officers and bans immigration enforcement at public schools, hospitals and courthouses.
SB 54 has been met with staunch opposition from the California State Sheriffs' Association, including Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston. On Wednesday, local activists turned out in force at a Martinez rally to protest Livingston's active campaign against the bill. They also called for the release of Yazmin Elias, a mom and domestic violence survivor currently held in the West County Detention Facility under the Sheriff's multi-million dollar contract with ICE.
Meanwhile, the sanctuary city movement in California has continued to grow. On Tuesday, the El Cerrito city council unanimously voted to declare itself a sanctuary city by adopting a policy of not gathering or release information about the immigration status of residents to federal authorities. The council also called for Contra Costa supervisors to do the same, and passed a resolution in support of SB 54.
And on Wednesday, Richmond announced a lawsuit against Trump's executive order to deny federal funding to sanctuary cities. Richmond currently receives about $77 million per year in federal funding. "We will not allow intimidation to disrupt our commitment to our residents and their safety," said Mayor Butt at a press conference. San Francisco announced a similar lawsuit in January.
Finally, if this news is leaving you inspired, please consider joining the new RPA Immigration Action Team, which had its inaugural meeting this week. Contact Sharron SK Williams at email@example.com