New “Public Charge” rules shouldn’t affect travel plans for current permanent residents

              Some media outlets, including Spanish language media, are mistakenly reporting that legal permanent residents (“green card” holders) who travel outside the U.S. who have received some form of public assistance, such as Medi-Cal, may lose their legal status when they attempt to return.  This information is false. No green card holder or U.S. citizen is in danger of having his or her residency or citizenship revoked based on past receipt of public benefits. They continue to have the right to travel out of the country without fear of having their legal status cancelled upon their return.

NATURALIZED U.S. CITIZENS AND LEGAL PERMANENT RESIDENTS WILL NOT BE PENALIZED FOR RECEIVING PUBLIC BENEFITS AND CAN TRAVEL ABROAD WITHOUT IMMIGRATION JEOPARDY.  PROPOSED CHANGES MAY AFFECT GREEN CARD APPLICANTS ONLY, AND ARE NOT YET IN EFFECT.

Some media outlets, including Spanish language media, are mistakenly reporting that legal permanent residents (“green card” holders) who travel outside the U.S. who have received some form of public assistance, such as Medi-Cal, may lose their legal status when they attempt to return.   This information is false.  No green card holder or U.S. citizen is in danger of having his or her residency or citizenship revoked based on past receipt of public benefits.  They continue to have the right to travel out of the country without fear of having their legal status cancelled upon their return.

Currently, the Trump Administration has proposed changing the policy regarding green card applicants who have received some form of governmental aid.  Under the proposed changes, applicants for legal status can be denied if they are likely to become a “public charge,” that is, dependent on the government for their subsistence. Even then, it would only affect applicants who receive benefits after the proposed policy goes into effect. The Administration is currently accepting public comments regarding this change which has not been finalized or implemented.  But this proposed change does not apply to persons who have already become legal residents or U.S. citizens.

According to Doug Keegan, an attorney for the Community Action Board in Watsonville, CA, many local residents have cancelled travel plans due to this misinformation.  “U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents should not live in fear because their families have obtained nutritional or medical benefits that they qualify for and need.  The public charge exclusion does not apply to them.”

 For more information, please contact, Attorney Doug Keegan, at (831) 724-5667 or doug@cabinc.org.  

Sanctuary Santa Cruz Endorses
Measure M and Proposition 10

Sanctuary Santa Cruz, a coalition of seven local groups and an adherent to the national Poor People’s Campaign, has voted to endorse two important ballot measures whose outcomes will affect the most vulnerable members of our community: Measure M, and Proposition 10.

Sanctuary does not endorse any individual’s political campaign.  However, it is at the heart of our organization’s mission to stand up for those in our community who are facing abuse, extortion, profiling, and the fear that comes from not having the basic conditions to live a decent life, or the right to equal protection under the law.  Creating Sanctuary means analyzing the conditions that make our community unsafe and acting to change them.

When most full-time working adults cannot pay to house themselves, life becomes untenable and risky for the majority.   Those in acute danger include children and youth, the elderly, those who are temporarily or permanently disabled, those who work part-time or have low incomes.  Women, girls, and LGBTQ people become more at risk of domestic and intimate partner violence when they have nowhere to go.  And immigrants in our community, villainized by our federal government and by the worst elements of our media and society, are more frequently threatened, extorted, and silenced by unethical landlords.  Behind it all we see a short-sighted, selfish investment in personal profit margins, when so many others are suffering.

Of course, people may have disagreements about the best ways to understand and solve large-scale urgent problems.  But the past year’s campaign to address the  urgency of rents rising beyond the community’s means and the gridlock of unaffordable housing has brought some of the most hateful, unethical, closed-minded elements in our community out into the light.  What we have seen is that many of those who have all the power in Santa Cruz, including elected officials and the media, refuse to consider anyone else’s perspective, or the reality of the global economy, or new research and tools to address systemic housing problems. Our county’s Democrats prefer to break with their party rather than face local electoral control over the rental market.  On the extreme edge, some landlords this year have evicted those working on the Measure M campaign; some have disseminated wild untruths about the measure or racist, fear-mongering propaganda.  In other words, instead of working constructively on compromise, some of the most privileged people in our community have made democratic activity unfeasible and unsafe for those whose opinions they do not like.

Sanctuary Santa Cruz was founded to fight the threat of arbitrary displacement by deportation, so that our community members can continue to live, work, play, and grow up alongside us. At a time when the cloud of silence, hostility, and the threat of displacement hangs over us, Measure M and Proposition 10 are the voices of courage, hope, and caring, saying “we are here,” and “this is our home,” and “we’ll work this out.”  This is what integrity and community sound like, and we say “Yes.”

Humanitarian Crisis at the Border: What to Know & What to Do

Keeping families together by keeping them in jail is not the answer to the humanitarian crisis at our border.

Trump’s  new executive order on the family separation policy:

  1.  Doesn’t re-unite families already separated.
  2.  Seeks indefinite detention of refugee families, by ordering the Attorney General to challenge the Flores settlement.
  3. Sets up family detention at military bases.

Meanwhile: 

Alternatives to Family Detention

More humane alternatives to detention exist. The Family Case Management Program, which the Trump administration terminated last year, had a compliance rate of 99.6% with immigration requirements such as court hearings.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement Must Not Be Used As an Arm of Law Enforcement

The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), ICE, and CBP began cooperating more closely in May 2108 under a new Memorandum of Agreement. ORR can  now share information gained by social workers and health care providers with ICE, and this information can be used against children in court.

Under this new agreement, a slow motion family separation crisis will continue.  The new agreement also increases the likelihood that ICE will deport undocumented relatives of children in detention if they step forward as sponsors. In vetting sponsors, the best interests of the child should take precedence over immigration enforcement.

What you can do:

 

 

 

 

May 19 Community Fast in Solidarity with Ramadan

Our Community Fast in Solidarity with Ramadan is designed to enhance understanding of Muslims and Islamic practices and to symbolize our unity and support. Participation can take any or all of several forms:

  • Anyone anywhere can sign up to fast in any way they choose to indicate their solidarity with our Muslim community. Sign up below.
  • Attend Morning Study about Ramadan from 10-11 at Resource Center for Nonviolence, 612 Ocean St. to learn about the meaning and practice of Ramadan and fasting, setting an intention for your fast.  Space is limited – signup below. 
  • Attend the evening IFTAR—break the fast gathering at RCNV from 7:15-9:30 for ceremony, Middle Eastern Food, and dialogue. Please click here to pre-register – very important so we can plan the meal. Dinner will require a sliding scale donation with no-one turned away.

I plan to fast in Solidarity with Ramadan from sunup to sundown on May 19

Sorry, this event has passed. We are no longer accepting signups

Ramadan (/ˌræməˈdɑːn/; Arabic: رمضان Ramaḍān, IPA: [ramaˈdˤaːn]; is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting (Sawm) to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad according to Islamic belief.  More info here:  https://ing.org/ramadan-information-sheet/ 

 

 

SHERIFF HART, CONTRARY TO ASSURANCES, COLLABORATES WITH ICE

Evidence given to Sanctuary activists proves that Santa Cruz County Sheriff Hart has been collaborating on “immigration-only” enforcement by ICE. Hart refuses to change the County Jail’s policies, which are voluntary. 
 
At a meeting between representatives of the Santa Cruz chapter of ACLU of Northern California; Sanctuary Santa Cruz; Peace United Church of Christ and the Public Defender’s Office on April 19th, Santa Cruz County Sheriff Hart was presented evidence of the ongoing arrangement whereby the Sheriff’s Office notifies ICE of release dates of arrested but non-convicted undocumented locals.
The evidence of Jail-ICE collaboration was made available to Sanctuary Santa Cruz because of the TRUTH Act, signed into law by Jerry Brown in September 2016 and enforced beginningJanuary 1, bringing transparency to local law enforcement relationship with ICE.   The Truth Act places restrictions on ICE access to individuals in custody and ensures that if local law enforcement notifies ICE of an individual’s release date and time, that the agency must also notify the individual and their attorney.  

Several of such notifications were made available to Sanctuary Santa Cruz, documenting Jail notification to ICE of imminent release dates of individuals, even one whose misdemeanor violation was so minimal that they were released from Jail on their own recognizance, not yet arraigned.  ICE was notified of the release time and detained that individual, who is now awaiting immigration court hearing in San Francisco.  
Reports of such Jail-ICE cooperation are now dribbling in. When confronted with this evidence Hart confirmed the Jail policy of cooperation and, at the first meeting, agreed to consider the information presented to him about other jurisdictions who refused to cooperate with ICE.
At today’s meeting (May 10th), however, Hart said that he would not change Santa Cruz Jail policy.

Hart has claimed publically that the Sheriff’s Office and Jails do not assist in immigration enforcement in any way. However, Sanctuary Santa Cruz and other local activists consider that Sheriff Hart’s voluntary sharing of release dates IS assisting in immigration enforcement.
Hart has been considered an exemplary leader of the local law enforcement community and has just become the first law enforcement official to endorse SB54, the state Sanctuary Bill.
“Words are not enough,” comments Ernestina Saldana, lead coordinator of Sanctuary Santa Cruz, “It’s time for Hart to put his actions with his words. There’s no reason for him to cooperate in advance. There’s no reason to make it easier for ICE to deport people. He has a lot of reasons to make it easier for the community to feel safe and keep their families together,” said Ernestina Saldana, lead coordinator of Sanctuary Santa Cruz