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.”

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)

Governor Signs Bill Making CA a Sanctuary State

Governor Jerry has signed Brown SB 54!

The California Values Act is now the law. Santa Cruz is a Sanctuary City in a Sanctuary County in a Sanctuary State!

Now it’s time for us to make sure our local officials are prepared to keep ICE away from our schools, colleges, universities, churches, courthouses, civic buildings, hospitals, medical facilities, parks, community centers, and jails.
It’s up to the rest of us to confront them on the streets.
ICE will keep trying to terrorize our neighborhoods and abduct our neighbors, you can count on it.
But we can organize now better than ever to show them they are not welcome here, and they cannot prey on us without being resisted.

 

6 ICE Officers Ambush Man Outside SC County Courthouse

Sanctuary has received a report that 6 ICE officers picked up a man as he was leaving the courthouse. If you have any information about the incident, please call (831) 239-4289 so Sanctuary can be in contact with the family and find out if they are safe.

This incident was witnessed yesterday, Tuesday, July 25, by Alex Calvo, Court Executive Officer, as reported by Angela Chesnut, a senior analyst for Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors Chairperson John Leopold. Apparently, the person disappeared by ICE yesterday was an undocumented immigrant who had just emerged from the court building after a court appearance of some kind. It seems ICE was waiting for him outside because, in keeping with Santa Cruz County’s Sanctuary policy, Calvo will not allow ICE agents access into the court buildings to arrest people.

It would be helpful for citizens to demand that County Sheriff’s deputies should proactively confront ICE agents setting up ambushes like this at public buildings. We absolutely don’t have to accept this, and our Sheriff has the power to intervene, but he needs to be moved by the will of the People.

Please submit a comment at the Sheriff’s Office website, or call the Office at (831) 454-7600 to urge Sheriff John Hart to do more to protect our undocumented neighbors and friends!

BREAKING: ICE arrests in Santa Cruz County

Sanctuary Santa Cruz received information yesterday and today that ICE agents operating in Santa Cruz County have arrested two of our neighbors.

We’re informed that the first arrest happened yesterday at the subject’s workplace in Westside Santa Cruz; apparently the man had previously been arrested by local police on charges of being in possession of an open container, and taking a set of pots from the sidewalk.

The second arrest reportedly happened this morning at 5:30 from the subject’s home in Watsonville. This man had been deported in 2010, and returned; reportedly he has sole custody of his two teenaged children.

It’s possible more arrests have taken place, but these two families had our red emergency know-your-rights cards with them, and thus were able to report the incidents to us. We believe both men were taken to the San Francisco Immigration Court, or the Richmond ICE detention center; we’re not sure which.

Emotional and financial support as well as legal representation will be needed in both cases.

I’m making a call to all volunteers to print red cards from our website, and distribute them widely where you live or work, where you go for lunch or dinner.

Download cards here: https://sanctuary-sc.net/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/SSCRedcard4-17-17.pdf

I’m also asking everyone to be on high alert, to help resist these incursions by federal agents into our Sanctuary territory, taking prisoners among some of our most vulnerable neighbors, splitting families apart, and sending waves of fear throughout our immigrant communities. We need to stand as one in solidarity, in every neighborhood. Santa Cruz is a Sanctuary city in a Sanctuary county; we shouldn’t allow this to happen without determined resistance. 

Ni uno más!

Help Make California a Sanctuary State: Urge the CA Assembly to pass SB54, the California Values Act

We have an important opportunity here to make our entire state a sanctuary! Let’s do everything we can do ensure Senate Bill 54, the California Values Act, passes through the California Assembly. 

It has already passed the State Senate, but the Assembly is expected to be a bit tougher of a win for us. 

Click here to download a document that includes the names and phone numbers of the most important assemblymembers to target for our lobbying efforts. This doc also includes a simple call script you may use and expand on if you like. 

Lastly it has simple links to tweet your support for SB54 at these assemblymembers. 

This amazing doc was put together by the ICE Out of CA Coalition. 

Please take the time to make these calls and help ensure SB54 passes!

Click here for a summary of the bill

Click here for the full text of the bill

Immigrants in Deportation Proceedings Should Have the Right to Legal Representation

Almost half of all California children have at least one immigrant parent, yet immigrants in our state have no legal right to legal counsel in deportation proceedings.

Almost half of all California children have at least one immigrant parent, yet immigrants in our state have no right to legal counsel in deportation proceedings. Deportations break up families, harm communities, and burden children with the long-term consequences of trauma.

New York has recently become the first state to ensure that no immigrant will be detained and permanently separated from his or her family solely because of the inability to afford a lawyer.

According to the Vera Institute of Justice, without a lawyer, only 3% of detained immigrants avoid deportation. Providing public defenders can improve an immigrant’s chance of winning and remaining in the United States by as much as 1000%.

California needs to follow the example of New York in creating a publicly funded program to provide appointed counsel to immigrants in deportation proceedings.

Read the report on California’s Due Process Crisis by the California Coalition for Universal Representation

NY Becomes First State to Provide Legal Representation to All Immigrants in Deportation Proceedings.

Almost half of all California children have at least one immigrant parent, yet immigrants in our state have no legal right to legal counsel in deportation proceedings. ithout counsel, a study shows, only 3% of detained, unrepresented immigrants avoid deportation, but providing public defenders can improve an immigrant’s chance of winning and remaining in the United States by as much as 1000%.

New York has become the first state to ensure that no immigrant will be detained and permanently separated from his or her family solely because of the inability to afford a lawyer. Without counsel, a study shows, only 3% of detained, unrepresented immigrants avoid deportation, but providing public defenders can improve an immigrant’s chance of winning and remaining in the United States by as much as 1000%.”

Almost half of all California children have at least one immigrant parent, yet immigrants in our state have no legal right to legal counsel in deportation proceedings. Deportations break up families and harm communities. California needs to follow the example of New York in creating a publicly funded program to provide appointed counsel to immigrants in deportation proceedings.

Read the report on California’s Due Process Crisis by the California Coalition for Universal Representation