FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Todo Poder al Pueblo Collective
Tel. (805) 328-4763
Saturday, July 14, 2012
State Assemblyman Das Williams (D-35th District) draws fire for opposing CA Trust Act, supporting controversial “SECURE COMMUNITIES” program
Community organizations call for July 28 protest at Assemblyman’s offices in Oxnard and Santa Barbara
(Oxnard, CA) Assemblyman Das Williams (D-35th District) is walking a tightrope among his constituents in this sensitive election year after provoking outrage among migrant justice advocates and community groups by signaling his opposition to AB1081 (Ammiano), the CA Trust Act, prior to its upcoming review by the Assembly. Williams also expressed support for Secure Communities (S-Comm), a notorious program by the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (DHS-ICE) agency which mandates the cooperation of local law enforcement with ICE. Following pressure by the Oxnard-based Todo Poder al Pueblo Collective (www.TodoPoderAlPueblo.org) and other community members, however, Williams appears to be in damage control mode.
Dubbed the “nation’s first ‘anti-Arizona law’” in reference to Arizona’s harsh Senate Bill 1070, the CA Trust Act has been making headway at a rapid pace in the State legislature, gaining the approval of the State Senate by a vote of 21-12 on July 5, 2012. It has been greeted warmly by civil rights organizations such as the ACLU of Southern California, the National Day Labor Organizing Network (NDLON), the CA Immigration Policy Center (CIPC), and the Los Angeles, CA-based Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA).
A press release issued by the office of Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-13th Assembly) on July 5 stated that “7 in 10 of those deported under S-Comm in the state were deported with either no conviction or for minor offenses. In the worst instances, S-Comm is responsible for placing victims of domestic violence in deportation proceedings and deterring parents from reporting crimes committed against their children.”
However, in an interview with KEYT on July 6, Williams stated that his office “investigated it and we could not find anyone who had committed an infraction or a misdemeanor that had been deported…I don’t feel like I should be voting for a law to stop California’s participation in Secure Communities.”
The Todo Poder al Pueblo Collective immediately blasted the comments. Elliott Gabriel, a member of the collective, stated that “S-Comm has now led to more deportations per year than at any other time in enforcement history.” Gabriel noted that given the statistics cited by lawmakers and gleaned from publically-available data, “ it is a statistical impossibility that Das is telling the truth. “
“[We] were born at night, but not last night,” Gabriel added.
Todo Poder also released a series of satirical graphics poking fun at Assemblyman Williams’ complacency regarding deportations, instead advocating for inconsequential causes such as “International Surfing Day.”
Todo Poder also cited his previous reliance on Latino and undocumented communities during past electoral efforts, and his May 1, 2010 statement that “[Arizona’s SB1070] legalizes that police can stop someone just based on race and an accent.” S-COMM has led to a cascading amount of discretionary arrests and detentions, leading to charges that it is in practice all too similar to Arizona’s SB1070.
Oxnard School District Trustee Denis O’Leary also remarked, “Das has been disappointing. He talked a good talk to whoever he was in front of during his campaign.”
On Friday, July 13, Williams responded to community members’ concerns in private emails, explaining that “[AB1081] has been amended since I last had the opportunity to vote on it. I will take a look at the new bill and the available data on this issue before voting on this in August.”
The Todo Poder al Pueblo Collective, in a response to Williams, stated that “S-Comm represents an example of living, breathing legislative aggression against the undocumented communities who comprise a major portion of our [District],” adding that “anxiety in our communities regarding Police-[I.C.E.] collaboration is purely natural.”
The Todo Poder al Pueblo Collective has called for a protest to be held in front of Williams’ office at the Oxnard Transportation Center on the corner of East Fourth St. and Oxnard blvd. at 12PM on Saturday, July 28. The action will be held in conjunction with a nationwide call to action for protests against Arizona’s SB1070. There will also be an protest at Das Williams’ office in Santa Barbara at 101 W. Anapamu Street.