There is a growing trend in the United States towards using surveillance technology to cast a broad net over a community to protect public safety rather than developing methods that are more precise. As a result, we are all subject to the scrutiny of law enforcement agencies regardless of whether or not our activities are against the law. The potential for abuse with this data is undeniable. A rigorous ordinance can balance the tension between public safety, privacy, and civil liberties. In fact, El Cerrito’s recent process for a body camera policy provides an example of how use policies can be developed prior to implementation and with ample public input.
We believe El Cerrito should implement a surveillance technology ordinance before obtaining these technologies so that privacy concerns and potential degradation of our civil liberties can be addressed from day one. Right now we know ICE is actively using these technologies to pursue undocumented immigrants. However, the facial recognition technology they are using is against drivers licenses which means most of our information is exposed to this. (1) San Francisco has just passed a ban on all facial recognition technology and other cities are following. (2)
There are many current types of surveillance technologies such as license plate readers, cameras, drones, cell site simulators, and new technologies are being developed every day. Many community members want to develop a policy that allows for public input before any such technologies are adapted by the city. Such a process was used for the body cameras the police wear and it was a great example of a balance between civil liberties and needs of the police. What do you think?
We would like an El Cerrito Ordinance on the use of surveillance technology that includes the following:
Each new surveillance technology shall have a developed policy that is approved by the City Council. This policy shall include a detailed description of what the technology is, how it will be utilized, how, when, why, and with whom data will be shared, and what the data storage policy will be.
Any surveillance technology used by law enforcement shall be held to a high standard of public accountability. An annual report of how data is being collected and used shall be shared with the community. This report shall include what equipment was used, how it was used, and how effective it was in preventing or solving a crime.
Any surveillance data collected shall have stated requirements for how long data can be stored, and how it will be stored.
El Cerrito Police Department will develop strict guidelines for how information is shared will other law enforcement/government agencies. Information will never be shared with ICE.
No contract for surveillance technology shall be entered into with any agency that shares their data with ICE (such as Vigilant).
A process shall be established to enable citizens to know if their data has been collected.
We believe there can be a balance between the use of technology for crime protection and protection of civil liberties. Join us if you would like to see a reasonable policy that protects our privacy.
The East Bay Sanctuary Covenant are the lead plaintiff suing the Trump Administration regarding the Third County Transit Ban. There will be a hearing on their REQUEST FOR A TRO (TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER) ON WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, AT 9:30AM. The hearing will be at the Northern District courthouse in San Francisco, 450 Golden Gate Ave. Judge Tigar’s courtroom is on the 19th floor. They are asking supporters to show up. There are also some other action steps at the bottom of the info below. For more information https://ebsc.nationbuilder.com/?utm_campaign=ebsc_v_barr&utm_medium=email&utm_source=ebsc
Facts about the Third Country Ban Lawsuit
According to Michael Smith, EBSC’s Director of Refugee Rights, “Trump’s policy is illegal and usurps the power of Congress to make laws. Seeking asylum is clearly protected under U.S. and international asylum law. EBSC’s asylum clients are fleeing horrific violence in their home countries. EBSC has one of the largest affirmative asylum programs in the U.S. and has successfully helped almost 4,000 people to obtain asylum.
Over 97% of EBSC’s asylum cases are approved, showing that these claims are meritorious. These are people fleeing persecution and seeking safety under the law. Contrary to what the administration is claiming, this population is not safe in Guatemala or Mexico, where they are vulnerable to their persecutors and other forms of oppression. Many of EBSC’s clients, including LGBTQ people and survivors of gender-based violence, are fleeing persecution in Mexico. Asylum seekers crossing the U.S. southern border are not only from Central America. They may be from Russia, Africa, and Asia; some have traveled through South America, the jungles of Panama and Central America, with the hopes of reaching safety. Nearly all of EBSC clients are victims of atrocious forms of persecution – 80% have been raped or sexually abused, including male and female children. Going forward, 80% of EBSC clients would be unable to apply for asylum.
The ramifications of the Trump administration’s actions will be long-reaching for people who are genuinely deserving of asylum protection. EBSC’s 37-year old asylum program reaching the most traumatized populations would be terminated. Act Now! Write your congressional representatives! Join EBSC’s social media networks. Share accurate news and articles so more people are informed of the detrimental impact of these attacks on asylum law. Support EBSC by volunteering or donating – your support matters!
El Cerrito Progressives is working to help support East Bay Sanctuary Covenant to raise money for their work with unaccompanied minors. * Since 2014, EBSC has provided legal assistance to more than 600 unaccompanied children fleeing gang violence, human trafficking, and domestic abuse in their home countries.
With EBSC help, these youth are often able to obtain asylum, reunify with their family members, and finally, feel safe.
In 2018, more than 50,000 unaccompanied children were stopped at the border; in January 2019, apprehensions of minors traveling alone had increased by 40%.
There are currently not enough lawyers to meet the needs of the growing numbers of unaccompanied children seeking legal services. We are helping raise money so that EBSC can hire additional staff to assist with the legal cases of these minors.
El Cerrito Progressives has a goal of raising at least $10,000 for EBSC through this gofundme and our community bakes sales Cookies Not Cages.
We have all seen the pictures of these poor children being detained. Help us support them in being reunited with their families and obtaining sanctuary in the United States.
Bake Sales are occurring this Saturday the 20th at EC Plaza near the Traders Joes and this Sunday at the Kensington Farmers Market. Sales will be active from 10-2pm. We have already raised over $2500 towards our 10k goal and this weekend we have a generous match of $500 for each sale! We hope to see lots of our neighbors there. Enjoy delicious baked goods made by your neighbors and we usually have some vegan and gluten-free treats too!
*Unaccompanied minors are children under the age of 18 who come to the border without a parent. If they come with a grandmother or grandfather, aunt or uncle or other relative they are considered to be unaccompanied, separated from their relatives and placed in detention.
The Trump administration continues to devise policies to separate immigrant families. On May 10th, HUD published a proposed rule in the Federal Register that would lead to thousands of “mixed-status” immigrant families that have members who are undocumented or otherwise ineligible for public and other subsidized housing to split up or be evicted, putting them at high risk of homelessness. In a posting published by the National Low Income Housing Coalition: The proposed rule would prohibit mixed-status families from living in public and other subsidized housing. Such families will be evicted from their subsidized housing after 18 months or sooner. To learn more, follow this link:https://nlihc.org/resource/trump-administration-publishes-proposed-mixed-status-rule-would-lead-family-separations
Amidst the growing reports of the deplorable conditions at both the private Homestead facility in Florida, and other camps run by Customs and Border Protection, public outcry to “close the camps” echoed throughout the nation. On July 2, 187 cities across the coast staged rallies and marches to ask that no more of our tax dollars flow to pipeline for the detention of migrants.
Locally, over 200 local residents gathered on June 29th to voice there concerns about the health and safety of children at the border, denouncing current immigration polices that criminalize people who are fleeing violence. On July 2nd, over 1,000 people marched to the office of Diane Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi asking for three actions:
Close the Camps
Not One More Dollar for Detention Camps
Bear Witness to the situation at our southern border.
Earlier in June, Rep. DeSaulnier appeared at a town hall meeting in El Cerrito. He covered many subjects, and answered many questions, but he did not answer this question: Why not close the camps? I followed-up with a written submission of the question and received this response:
Readers, please note that many of the migrants including unaccompanied minors have family in the United States. Prior to the increased criminalization of immigrants, civil violations for those who did not have papers were handled through legal hearings. Organizations and/or family members (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. ) sponsored those who were awaiting their hearing-clearly a better prospect than the filthy and unhealthy confines currently offered to those already suffering trauma. This is where children can go –with their families. As long as these centers exist, there is little political will to really consider the alternatives and we will continue to feed this bureaucracy in our name and with our tax dollars. Congress does have authority to spend money and to defund departments. Please write Rep. DeSaulnier and ask that he defund the centers, not a penny more! End the contract with Homestead, the private for profit processing center for over 1200 children.
Join your community in speaking out for immigrant justice. As the Trump administration ramps up the Homeland Security apparatus for millions of deportations, as well as continued incarceration of non-criminal children and adults seeking asylum, we need to respond. Silence is compliance!