The US Constitution protects the rights of all people within our borders — native born and immigrant, both with documentation and without. The Freedom Cities campaign is predicated on both the protection of these rights, and the critical need for trust and understanding between local law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. We believe that local law enforcement should focus on protecting the community, creating trust with local residents, and maintaining a mutually respectful and beneficial relationship with all the people within their jurisdiction. We believe that when local law enforcement agencies get involved in border and immigration enforcement, this weakens all three of those goals. To that end, we seek to completely separate local law enforcement from any enforcement relating to immigration status, and any activity taken by CBP or ICE.
SFPPP Meets with Sheriff Bolanos
SFPPP focused the office of the Sheriff of San Mateo County, which includes the county jail for all San Mateo County cities and unincorporated area. Along with other immigration and civil rights organizations, we met with Sheriff Carlos Bolanos, his Assistant Sheriff Mark Robbins, and Captain Kunkel on June 19, 2017. This meeting led to several policy changes with respect to the Sheriff's Office interactions with ICE, including an explicit policy that nobody should be detained by the Sheriff’s office based on their immigration status. The Sheriff declined to deny ICE access to the jails, although he has to legal power to do so.
California Passes the California Values Act, SB 54
While these local discussions were going on, the California State Senate discussed SB 54, the California Values Act. We advocated for this bill by phone and by email, contacting representatives in Sacramento and Governor Brown. On September 21, SFPPP and over a hundred other Californian organizations sent a letter to Governor Brown arguing that the legislation "will protect the safety and well-being of Californians by ensuring that our state and local resources are not used to fuel mass deportations and our schools, libraries, health facilities, shelters, courts, [and more] remain accessible to all Californians.” The version that was eventually passed in September and signed by the governor in October was imperfect, but still represents a huge step forward in protecting immigrants.
A sample of SFPPP Actions
Met with local law enforcement, singly and other rights groups, to lobby for People Power’s Nine Model State and Local Law Enforcement Policies and Rules.
Called, e-mailed, wrote letters, attended coffees, and visited the Governor, state senators, and assembly persons to lobby for SB 54, the California Values Act, which protects immigrants, and creates safer communities, state-wide. SB 54 is now law.
Co-sponsored, with several immigrant and non-partisan groups, a Sheriff’s Candidates Forum in April 2018 in San Mateo County.
Attended San Mateo County Board of Supervisors meeting to support Faith in Action’s efforts to encourage members to pass deportation defense funding for low income immigrants. This effort was successful and the Board approved $764,000 to fund deportation hearing defense.
Participated in several rallies and protests opposing the Muslim Ban and the immigrant family separation policies of the Trump administration.
Co-organized and sponsored the Redwood City Lights for Liberty candlelight vigil on July 12, 2019.
Distributed more than 1100 Family Preparedness Guides, and more than 2100 Know Your Rights brochures to local churches, organizations, and individuals.
Going forward, we will continue to work on issues that protect the civil rights of all in our community.