FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Todo Poder al Pueblo Collective
Tel. (805) 328-4763
Community organizations call for Friday, Saturday protests to demand support for CA Trust Act from Das Williams (D-35)
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Open letter issued to Das Williams following support for notorious DHS-ICE “Secure Communities” program
(Oxnard, CA) Oxnard-based Todo Poder al Pueblo Collective has called for a protest to be held in front of Assemblyman Das Williams’ office at the Oxnard Transportation center on July 28 at 12 noon. Allied organizations will hold a similar action at noon on Friday, July 27, in front of the Assemblyman’s office in Santa Barbara. Both actions are meant to demand that Williams votes “yes” on the CA Trust Act, AB1081 (Ammiano) and show his support for undocumented communities in the region.
Dubbed the “nation’s first ‘anti-Arizona law’” in reference to Arizona’s harsh SB1070, the CA Trust Act will place drastic limits on the power of the federal government to dictate the terms of local jurisdictions’ participation in Secure Communities (S-Comm), a Department of Homeland Security – Immigration and Customs Enforcement (DHS-ICE) program mandating collaboration between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities.
The UK-Based Guardian newspaper has described Secure Communities as, “in essence… the sibling of Arizona’s law. [SB1070]” According to public data, 7 out of 10 of the 72,000 Californians deported under S-Comm have had either no convictions on their records or only minor offenses. Law enforcement agencies have also stated that it has drastically undermined relations with undocumented residents who now fear deportation as a result of contact with police officers. Domestic-violence victims and witnesses of crimes have faced deportation proceedings as a result of the program.
Williams provoked outrage after a July 6 interview with KEYT where he stated, “I don’t feel like I should be voting for a law to stop California’s participation in Secure Communities.”
In an open letter submitted to a representative of Williams on Wednesday, July 25, the Todo Poder al Pueblo Collective stated, “Our stance is clear and unequivocal: we demand an end to the abuses… We’re addressing you as a serious lawmaker, a Member of the State Assembly, and an elected representative that is ultimately accountable to public opinion.”
Todo Poder al Pueblo continued to explain that “the CA Trust Act seeks to remedy these problems through protections of our constitutionally-assured rights including a fair hearing in court, protections against racial profiling and pre-textual arrests, protection for children and survivors of domestic abuse, the safeguarding of government transparency, and the right of localities to opt-out of the program.”
Santa Barbara-based PUEBLO (People United for Economic Justice Building Leadership through Organizing) has been raising awareness regarding S-Comm since its introduction. “Every week PUEBLO receives calls from people whose families have been torn apart by deportation, from women afraid to report domestic violence for fear that they might be turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Secure Communities is a dragnet deportation program that erodes trust between police and immigrant communities and tears at the integrity of working families. We call on Assemblymember Das Williams to stand with working families, support the TRUST Act, and rein in this out of control deportation program.”
Noting the immigrant-friendly nature of Assemblyman Williams’ past voting record, Todo Poder al Pueblo added, “[your] support for S-Comm is a matter of grave concern that undermines your past efforts to stand in solidarity with the most vulnerable residents of our state… We have no choice but to demand, in the strongest and most forthright language possible, that you vote ‘Yes’ on the CA Trust Act when it reaches the State Assembly.”
Nayra Pacheco, an undocumented senior at UCSB and representative of IDEAS (Improving Dreams, Equality, Access and Success), said that “We expect Das to fight against insecure immigration policies that threaten not only the rights of our families, but our educational rights as well. S-Comm creates fear in the community we study, work, and volunteer in and we will not stand for it!”
This controversy comes at a sensitive time for Williams, who is up for re-election in 2012. In past electoral efforts he has relied on the support and contribution of immigrant communities who have precinct-walked, registered voters, and sustained his election campaign.
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.
An additionl protest will take place 12PM on Friday, July 27, at Das Williams’ office in Santa Barbara located at 101 W. Anapamu Street.
Both actions will be held in solidarity with the National Day of Action Against Arizona’s SB1070.