FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Final Appeal to Assemblyman Das Williams (D-35): Support the CA Trust Act!
Friday, August 3, 2012
An open letter urging Das Williams to help put a check on “Secure Communities”
On July 25th we submitted a letter to your representative at your Oxnard office. This letter contained our response to the points you had made regarding your justification for not supporting the CA Trust Act (AB1081), and for your voicing of support for the Secure Communities (S-Comm) police-migra collaboration program as it stands. We have not yet received an official response.
We also understand that this coming Monday, August 6, 2012 there will be a vote on the amended revision of the Trust Act which has already been approved by the state senate. This Monday, the assembly will take a concurrence vote and then the bill will proceed to Governor Brown’s desk for final approval.
We are resubmitting our letter here (see below) just in case you haven’t had a chance to read it yet as you prepare to go to your meeting on Monday. We feel that this is necessary because your informal correspondence with our close migrant justice alliesindicates a continued misunderstanding of the proposed law. Within the letter, we detail our points on why there’s such a broad spectrum of statewide (and nationwide) support for this bill. Rather than take a purely defensive stance, we urge you to carefully consider why our community takes the issue of police-Migra collaboration so seriously.
At this point it appears the one reason that you’ve cited based on policy and law for not wanting to support the CA Trust Act is that it will “protect murderers and rapists by letting them loose on the streets.” However, in our July 25th letter we outlined how the CA Trust Act sets clear guidelines meant to address your concern:
An individual shall not be detained by a law enforcement official on the basis of an immigration hold after that individual becomes eligible for release from criminal custody, unless, at the time the individual becomes eligible for release from criminal custody, both of the following conditions are satisfied:
(a) The individual has been convicted of a serious or violent felony, according to a criminal background check or documentation provided to the law enforcement official by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement…
You also expressed a second reason for not supporting the Trust Act: “Please I do not reward those kind of tactics” in bringing this critical issue to the forefront. In particular, you highlighted that in calling you a two-faced sell out (a righteous and totally legitimate response by our communities to your current stance), you now won’t even consider supporting the Trust Act. This is neither about you, Mr. Williams, nor the Colectivo Todo Poder al Pueblo, and this goes beyond concerns about local politics. This is about setting clear guidelines meant to counteract the grievous damage caused by S-Comm, and defending our communities from an Arizona-style approach which has led to an ever-growing increase in mass detentions, deportations, and separations of families.
We want to make it crystal clear; the Colectivo Todo Poder Al Pueblo is here not for self-interest or “publicity, but to fight in the interests of our community, especially against the severely harmful laws, programs, and actions taken against us. Our collective is an all-volunteer, grassroots, barrio-based formation, and we do our work to struggle for our self-defense. We have nothing to gain besides a simple assertion of our dignity as a community.
We understand clearly that you aren’t the only member of the Assembly that hasn’t taken a vote on the Trust Act. However, given that we are your 35th District constituents, and you are our elected representative, we have concentrated our efforts on addressing you with our concerns. None of our efforts should be taken personally; you should instead view them through a serious political lens. In the final analysis you will be held accountable to public opinion.
In our July 25th letter we also expressed an honest recognition of your track record of supporting our communities on past occasions, “including support for progressive legislation… setting limitations on checkpoints… backing the CA Dream Act, and upholding protections for farm workers. We are grateful… and it is our firm desire that you continue on this policy track.”
We maintain this stance. Many of the members of our communities, especially the Chicano/Mexican/Latino community, supported you in your last electoral campaign and would like to continue to do so. Your expressed support for the notorious S-Comm program runs counter to the rights and interests of this crucial base of local support. You should consider the fact that it’s not “tactically” wise to abandon strategically crucial constituents within your district.
The community is closely monitoring the upcoming Assembly vote on the CA Trust Act. Your choice of whether to remain silent, vote against it, or take a stance in our defense will determine whether you remain in good standing with our community. It isn’t too late to take a stand on the right side of history.
Support an end to indiscriminate mass deportations and the separation of families. Support the CA Trust Act, and put a check on Secure Communities!
Colectivo Todo Poder al Pueblo