End the Criminalization of Immigrants

The following letter was written by members of DÍGAME on behalf of Sanctuary Santa Cruz. After the Santa Cruz Sentinel chose not to publish it, it was submitted to the UCSC student newspaper City on a Hill Press, where it appeared on March 9.

Early in the morning of February 7, ICE agents stopped a couple driving their three children to daycare near Watsonville. The couple thought it was a routine traffic stop, but to their shock, the husband was detained and is now in custody, awaiting deportation proceedings. According to AttorneyDoug Keegan of the Santa Cruz County Immigration Project, the man has no criminal record.

The assault on this family and on the entire community didn’t stop there, however. A few hours later, in response to questions about the incident, a Watsonville City Council member posted on Facebook that they had been in contact with the Watsonville Police Department and that  the arrested man was “a member of MS13.” The post was removed later that day, but the damage had been done. The wife of the arrested man is asking for an apology.

Sanctuary Santa Cruz calls on people of good will to put a stop to the insidious social environment that criminalizes  immigrants, the poor, and people of color. We may not have immediate access to the levers of power that would stop tyrants in their path, but we do have the power to be ethical and responsible to each other, and to hold our local elected officials to account.  We need to know that our officials will not be duped by the propaganda being pumped out of Washington, and that they will serve all the people in our communities. And at this juncture, we need to come forward and speak up in defense of our community–our friends, co-workers, classmates, neighbors.

We also need to educate each other about how ICE is operating in their war on immigrant communities.  First, under Trump, ICE is sweeping up people without warrants, both “targets and non-targets” as ICE agents put it last February in internal emails.  This has resulted in “collateral arrests” of people who are then investigated to see if they can be deported. The biggest increase in ICE arrests last year was of people with no criminal record at all. Second, when ICE publishes the results of their arrests, they highlight the few “egregious” felony cases, and blend these with other “prior criminal records,”  the bulk of which are for DUIs, drugs, immigration, and general traffic offenses.  In reality, crime is actually lower in immigrant populations than in native-born groups. Given the evidence, current federal policy is simply racist persecution.

The effects of this on immigrant communities–or people who may be mistaken as immigrants due to their ethnicity–is immense. Commando-style neighborhood raids and covert patrols create the leading edge of the assault; the longer-term effect is a kind of  “toxic stress.”  Under a cloud of grief, fear, and suspicion, families retrieve loved ones from detention centers, seek legal and financial help to pay for these disasters, and try to keep their heads up in public , never knowing who actually believes the lies being told about them.

Here’s how authoritarian systems work: 1) they distort reality, creating fear and hatred through propaganda; 2) they promise to protect people from the imagined threat they have created; 3) they arbitrarily reach into people’s lives and violate their rights; 4) they close channels and spaces, creating silence and division among those who believe the promises, those who know better, and those who retreat in an attempt to survive the reign of terror.

Let’s be clear: ICE is not coming to our region to protect us. It’s coming to undermine the sanctuary status of our cities and county, to pit us against one another. It’s here to terrorize, plain and simple.

Sanctuary Santa Cruz is collection of projects aimed at making our county a welcoming place for all of its residents.  Please contact us if you need help, or if you want to help: sanctuary.sc.contact@gmail.com.

Rapid response networks denounce due process violations by ICE in Northern California

As members of rapid response networks, we are deeply disturbed by the deportation tactics that limit detainees’ access to legal representation and collectively undermine their due process rights.

We have documented the following incidents and are continuing to investigate:

  • On Wednesday February 28, 2018 ICE refused to provide attorneys who visited 630 Sansome Street with information about specific people it had detained or general updates about the ongoing deportation actions.
  • ICE transferred people to detention facilities outside Northern California, posing significant barriers to access by both attorneys and family members.
  • ICE arrested and then rapidly deported several people, in some cases within hours, leaving inadequate time for response by families or attorneys. One man was arrested on Wednesday morning February 28th in Napa, and was on his way out of the country by 5 pm that afternoon.
  • ICE pressured detainees into waiving their rights and signing deportation documents without allowing them to consult with pro bono attorneys who were available. A man arrested in Merced County was told he would not be able to talk to his family unless he agreed to sign a voluntary departure notice.
  • ICE used its Northern California headquarters at 630 Sansome Street as a processing center on Sunday, February 25th despite that it was not open to the public and attorneys were denied requests to access detainees.

These alarming tactics escalate  ICE’s use of psychological intimidation.  This already deeply troubled agency is further limiting  transparency, opening the door to abuses, pressuring people into waiving their constitutional rights, and undermining due process.

The purpose of our local networks is to provide legal support to anyone in our communities who ICE detains. When the federal government denies vital information and access to legal representatives, that threatens civil liberties for all people.

Community groups across the state have raised their voices to demand a halt to ICE’s abuses of power. We further call on ICE to provide complete information about those arrested in our communities, return all detainees to local jurisdictions to ensure legal access and family support, and to uphold every person’s due process rights.

Rapid Response Networks

Alameda County Immigration Legal and Education Partnership
Contra Costa Immigrant Rights Alliance
FUEL Sacramento Rapid Response Network
Marin Rapid Response Network
Monterey County Rapid Response Network
North Bay Rapid Response Network (Sonoma and Napa Counties)
Northern California Rapid Response and Immigrant Defense Network
San Francisco Rapid Response Network
San Mateo Rapid Response Network
Santa Clara County Rapid Response Network
Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network (SIREN)
Valley Watch Network
Your Allied Rapid Response (Santa Cruz)

Report on ICE activity in Watsonville area, Feb. 7

Sanctuary Santa Cruz & Your Allied Rapid Response can verify that ICE picked up a Watsonville man around 4:30am this morning, Wednesday, February 7, near Calabasas Road and Bradford Road. Sherrif Hart has confirmed that the Sherriff’s department received a “courtesy call” from ICE informing him they would be making an arrest in the area.

The man and his wife were on their way to drop their young children off at daycare when they were stopped by 5 ICE officers in 2 unmarked vehicles. According to his wife, the detained man has no criminal history. The family has been put in touch with legal and other support services. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

We have had additional reports of ICE activity in the area throughout the day. The rapid response team received report of ICE activity near Amesti School in the afternoon, but could not confirm ICE presence. Officials later confirmed that this was a false report. The rapid response team checked out another report of ICE activity on First St. in downtown Watsonville around 9am, but could not confirm that ICE had been in the vicinity.  Continue to be alert and be prepared to call the YARR hotline at 831-239-4289 if you suspect ICE activity in our community.

How You Can Help Undocumented Youth & the Santa Cruz Dreamer Project

  • Petition: Dream Act Now!
  • Congress: Pass the Dream Act
  • Help Youth Keep Fighting

Host a Phone Bank

Email sanctuary.sc.contact@gmail.com if you can help host a phone bank in your home or other location of your choosing. Instead of just calling our local congress members, we can call voters in other districts to call their representatives in support of the Dream Act. Training provided!

Join Santa Cruz Dreamer Project Email List

On Social Media

Like the Santa Cruz Dreamer Project on Facebook:


Update your Facebook profile picture with a frame from United We Dream, and follow these national organizations working for a Dream Act:

United We Dream

The Seed Project



Bystander Training

The Bystander Training Event hosted last weekend by the Muslim Solidarity Group and CAIR attracted a packed house! According to the trainers from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, it was the largest group they’ve ever had.

Read more at SantaCruzSentinel.com

Santa Cruz DACA Recipients Host “Meet the DREAMers” Event

3 Santa Cruz DREAMers will travel to Washington DC to demand a #CleanDREAMAct ahead of a January 19 vote in Congress.

Meet the DREAMers, Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Neary Lagoon Apartments Community Room, 81 Chestnut Street Map

If you live in Santa Cruz, chances are you’ve already met a DREAMer.  Around 1,700 young people in the Santa Cruz/Watsonville area currently have protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. If Congress does not pass a Dream Act by January 19, these young people face an uncertain future in the only home country they have known. Nationwide, 15,315 people have already lost their deferred action protections since the repeal of DACA on September 5, 2017. After March 5, 2018 thousands more will begin to lose their protected status every day if Congress does not act.

DREAMers have mounted an inspiring fight for their rights and the rights of all undocumented people. Three local youth have joined the fight, launching the Santa Cruz DREAMer Project, under the umbrella of the Sanctuary Santa Cruz network. After a weekend whirlwind of fundraising involving the sale of 700 tamales, the three have raised enough money to to pay for their travel to Washington DC January 13-20. They plan to join in a week of actions designed to send a message to Congress: No DREAM, No Deal.

Come hear their stories, learn about the fight to for a clean DREAM Act to finally grant them a path to citizenship, and to find out how you can help, come “Meet the DREAMers” on Tuesday evening, January 11, 2018, 6:30-8:30 at the Neary Lagoon Apartments Community Room, 81 Chestnut Street.

“I want Congress to know that we DREAMers are more than just a number to be negotiated,” said Gabriela Cruz, founder of the Santa Cruz DREAMer Project. “We are not a bargaining chip for either political party. It’s time to be seen and be heard!”

The three local youth will be joined by Barbara Hernandez, one of the #DREAM7 arrested in a sit-in at the congressional office of Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL). While in jail, the 7 DREAMers plus one ally went on hunger strike for 7 days, refusing to give their names until Congress passed the DREAM Act. Though they ended their hunger strike when Congress passed a temporary spending bill without a Dream Act, they have vowed to return and fight for passage of a Clean DREAM Act in January. For more background on the #DREAM7, read Letter From a DC Jail.

“On January 19th 2018 Congress has the power to change our lives and grant 800,000+ DREAMers a legal path towards citizenship,” said Cruz. “Margarito Rodriguez, Cinthia and I will be in D.C. fighting for the DREAM Act, but we hope the Santa Cruz community as a whole can help us in the fight.”

Margarito Rodriguez shared his determination to fight for the human rights of all immigrants: “I thought crossing the Nogales desert at the age of five was the last border I would have to cross in my life, but borders keep being put in front of every DREAMer and every undocumented person. But just like borders keep being put up we will persist and cross every one of them. In Washington D.C. we will put our bodies on the line to protect our people and our human rights. We will go to claim our space and most importantly tell our stories that never get heard.”

Cinthia agrees: “ I’m currently enrolled at Cabrillo College, I will be graduating with honors in the Spring of 2018. I will hopefully transfer to UC Berkeley and become a lawyer. However, on September 5th, after President Tweet 45 revoked DACA, all of my goals, efforts, and dreams were disregarded. President 45 is killing dreams and changing our destinies. Going to Washington D.C. will give me the opportunity to stand alongside other DREAMers. We all want to be there to support and demand a clean DREAM Act on January 19th, 2018.”

Upcoming Events: Defend the Dream

January 15, Martin Luther King Day, begins a week of action to fight for the rights of all immigrants, but especially the 1,700 Dreamers living in Santa Cruz county.

In December, Congress voted to deport immigrant youth by failing to pass a Dream Act. With every day that passes, more and more youth are losing their protections under DACA.

Join together with Sanctuary and concerned community members to send a clear message to Congress: No Dream, No Deal. We need a clean Dream Act now.

Follow Santa Cruz Dreamers in Washington DC On Social Media

Like and follow the Santa Cruz Dreamer Project on Facebook for on-the-spot updates from the SC Dream Team in Washington DC!

March With Sanctuary Santa Cruz

 Martin Luther King March
January 15, 2018 9 am
March forms at Cedar and Cathcart. Look for the Sanctuary banner!

Santa Cruz Women’s March
January 20, 2018 11am
March forms at Locust and Pacific St. Look for the Sanctuary banner!

Phone Bank for a Clean Dream Act

Congressional staff members have confirmed that calls to Congress-members from their constituents have the greatest impact on their decision making. Join us to make calls to voters to ask them to call their Congressional Representative to pass the DREAM Act. You’ll need to bring a phone and laptop or tablet. Come for an hour, make some calls- you don’t have to stay the whole time!

Sign up to Phone Bank



Songs for Las Posadas

Outside the house (Travelers):

In heaven’s name,
I ask for shelter,
For she cannot walk,
My beloved wife.
Inside the house (Inhabitant):
This place is no inn,
Continue on your way,
I cannot open the door,
I fear you may be a thief.
Outside the house (Travelers):
Don’t be so inhumane,
Give us charity,
For it is God in the heavens,
That will award you for it.
Inside the house (Inhabitant):
You can go now,
And bother (us) no more,
Because if I become angry
I will surely beat you.
Outside the house (Travelers):
We come exhausted,
From Nazareth,
I’m a carpenter,
By the name of Joseph.
Inside the house (Inhabitant):
I don’t care for your name
Let me sleep
Because I’ve already told you,
I will not open.
Outside the house (Travelers):
She asks you for shelter,
Dear inhabitant,
Just for one night,
The queen in the heavens.
Inside the house (Inhabitant):
Well, if she is a queen,
Who solicits this from us,
How is it that by night,
She wanders all alone?
Outside the house (Travelers):
My wife is Mary,
She is Queen of the heavens,
And she will be the mother,
Of the divine word.
Inside the house (Inhabitant):
Are you Joseph?
Is your wife Mary?
Come in travelers,
I didn’t recognize you.
Outside the house (Travelers):
May God repay you sirs,
For your kindness,
And may heaven shower you,
With happiness.
What a joyful home
That harbors us this day,
The pure virgin,
Beautiful Mary.
Come in sacred travelers, travelers
Come, take this corner,
Although this dwelling is poor, this dwelling
We offer with our hearts.
Let’s sing with joy, joy
Everyone, as we consider
That Jesus, Joseph and Mary, and Mary
Have come today to honor us.


Campanas de Belen

Campana sobre campana (English)

Bethlehem, bells of Bethlehem
That the angels ring
What news do you bring me?

Bethlehem, bells of Bethlehem
That the angels ring
What news do you bring me?

Your flock is gathered,
Where are you going little shepherd?
I’m going to the stable to bring
Cottage cheese, lard and wine.


Bell after bell,
And after bell, two!
Lean out that window
God is being born.


Walking at midnight,
Where are you going shepherd?
To the Child who’s being born,
As to God, I’m bringing my heart.


Mi Burrito Sabanero

My little donkey

With my little donkey I go way to Bethlehem
With my little donkey I go way to Bethlehem
If they see me, if they see me
I go way to Bethlehem

The bright morning star illuminates my footpath
The bright morning star illuminates my footpath
If they see me, if they see me
I go way to Bethlehem

With my little donkey I go singing,
my little donkey goes trotting
With my little donkey I go singing,
my little donkey goes trotting
If they see me, if they see me
I go way to Bethlehem

tuki tuki tukituki
tuki tuki tukita
Hurry up my little donkey
that we are already going to arrive

tuki tuki tukituki
tuki tuki tukitu
Hurry up my little donkey
lets go to see Jesus

With my little donkey I go way to Bethlehem
With my little donkey I go way to Bethlehem
If they see me, if they see me
I go way to Bethlehem

The bright morning star illuminates my footpath
The bright morning star illuminates my footpath
If they see me, if they see me
I go way to Bethlehem

With my little donkey I go singing,
my little donkey goes trotting
With my little donkey I go singing,
my little donkey goes trotting
If they see me, if they see me
I go way to Bethlehem

tuki tuki tukituki
tuki tuki tukita
Hurry up my little donkey
that we are already going to arrive

tuki tuki tukituki
tuki tuki tukitu
Hurry up my little donkey
lets go to see Jesus

With my little donkey,
I go way to Bethlehem
With my little donkey,
I go way to Bethlehem
If they see me, if they see me
I go way to Bethlehem

If they see me, if they see me,
I go way to Bethlehem…

Letra canto canción para pedir posada


Voices of Muslim Identity

At the “Voices of Muslim Identity” event last night at the Resource Center for Nonviolence, 180 people enjoyed wonderful music, panelists, food, learning about many different Muslim identities in our community and land. Organized by the Muslim Solidarity Group of Sanctuary Santa Cruz.

Beyond Sacred: Voices of Muslim Identity Interview based theater production by Ping Chong and Company.


Sanctuary SC Nominated for Scott Kennedy “Drawing the Line” Award from Resource Center for Nonviolence

The Resource Center for Nonviolence (RCNV) will grant the Scott Kennedy Drawing the Line Award at the RCNV Annual Dinner, October 13, 2017 from 5 to 9 pm, at Peace United Church of Christ, 900 High Street, Santa Cruz. Sanctuary Santa Cruz is honored to be among the other nominees for this year’s award.

Sanctuary Santa Cruz is being recognized for organizing community support for our immigrant neighbors threatened with deportation. Sanctuary Santa Cruz was formed by and for the whole Santa Cruz community to support those neighbors, friends and fellow workers who face discrimination and harassment.

Past recipients of RCNV’s Scott Kennedy Drawing the Line Award have included the Day Worker Center, Brown Berets, Beach Flats Community Garden, Freedom Sleepers, Peace United Church of Christ and its 2015 BDS conference, and war resisters.

The Drawing the Line Award was initiated in the 1980’s by RCNV’s co-founder Scott Kennedy to celebrate nonviolent action in the face of social coercions and laws that ask us to violate our deepest values and spirit. The anarchist philosopher Paul Goodman called these “free actions, actions from our deepest nature.”

Paul Goodman wrote his essay, Reflections on Drawing the Line, to call attention to moments in our lives when we resist “self-betrayal on some concrete issue, that inwardly one knows to be crucial, that unless resisted would break the spirit and destroy integrity.” Goodman observed, “Our organized style of society has yearly become more relentless, and young people need more encouragement to resist it. We must, in small groups, draw the line and try action more directly satisfactory to our deep nature.”

For tickets to the Awards Dinner, contact the Resource Center for Nonviolence.

RCNV: Office phone: 831-423-1626. Cell phone: 831-251-4833.