Sign the Petition to Close the Camps

On June 28th, 2019 Congressman DeSaulnier wrote to his constituents,”Defunding the centers is not the answer – the answer is to make the processing more efficient so the centers are not needed at all. If we defund the centers, the children will have nowhere else to go.”  Untrue.

The administration has better options to enforce immigration and asylum laws but the Congressional approval of funding for the border camps perpetuates the human rights violations at our southern border.  In a recent  VOX post Trump doesn’t need to keep migrants in detention camps  Alexia Fernández Campbell, Jul 4, 2019 “…Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was running two alternative programs at the national level: the Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (ISAP), which involves electronic monitoring, and the less restrictive Family Case Management Program (FCMP), which relied on community monitoring. The administration ended one of the programs and has not expanded the other. The methods used in these programs are available to DHS, and are much cheaper than traditional detention — but the Trump administration is operating as if locking everyone up in squalid conditions is the only way.”

Detention is simply an act of malice, not a necessity.  Close the Camps!

Click here to sign the petition. Thanks!

Surveillance and Your Privacy- Policy Please?

An example of how facial recognition software can be used

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:

  1. 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. 
  1. 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. 
  1. Any surveillance data collected shall have stated requirements for how long data can be stored, and how it will be stored.  
  1. 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.
  1. No contract for surveillance technology shall be entered into with any agency that shares their data with ICE (such as Vigilant). 
  1. 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.

Links to Articles:

Action Alert: Pack the Court!

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 

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!

Protect “Mixed-Status” Immigrant Families – Take Action TODAY

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:

Continue reading “Protect “Mixed-Status” Immigrant Families – Take Action TODAY”


Overcrowding of families observed by the DHS Office of the Inspector General on June 11, 2019, at Border Patrol’s Weslaco, TX, Station. Photo: DHS OIG

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.

El Cerrito Shows UP: Rally at El Cerrito Plaza on Saturday, June 29th- Banner in the back says: Kids Need Adults to be Kind – this banner made by kids last year upon the reporting of mass family separations at the border.

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:

Screen Shot 2019-06-30 at 3.06.59 PM

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.

Never Again is Now.

DHS Inspector General Border Findings

Bay Area Close the Camps Action

Alternatives to immigrant detention

Homestead profiteering off of immigrants



The American Bar Association Denounces Brutal Conditions at Child Detention Centers

“Inhumane and illegal,” a violation of ‘human decency,’ are two expressions used by American Bar Association (ABA) President Bob Carlson.

In an official statement on June 25, Carlson joined civil libertarians and human rights organizations in an impassioned denunciation of the conditions children undergo in immigration detention centers at the U.S./Mexico border as a violation of U.S. law as well as a contempt for “common decency.”

Child border detention centers

As critics have previously disclosed, Carlson’s statement cited “overcrowded facilities that lack the most basic of human necessities”. He also asserted, “The American Bar Association is appalled by credible reports of hundreds of children being held in unsafe and unhealthy conditions in violation of federal and state law, court settlements and common decency.”

In the core of his statement Carlson declared, “The ABA calls on federal authorities to immediately end this inhumane and illegal treatment of children and provide attorney access to facilities operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.”

“We urge Congress to pass supplemental appropriations to ensure the appropriate treatment and care of unaccompanied immigrant children in government custody,” Carlson stated. “And we call on the Administration to enforce laws and settlements that guarantee humane, minimal standards of care for vulnerable children no matter how they arrived in our country.”

CBS News provides details that support Bob Carlson’s claims in the following video.

US child detenion center.JPG

Inspectors say kids detained at Texas border center without adequate food, water

If you are concerned about the treatment of children in U.S./Mexico border detention centers, you can follow this story further in related articles below. Much of the information in this particular account was taken from Alternet: American Bar Association decries ‘inhumane and illegal’ conditions at child detention centers: A violation of ‘common decency’

Related links:

Vox: These photos were the Trump administration’s attempt to quiet criticism. They’re only increasing critics’ horror.

ScaryMommy: Doctor Compares Holding Centers For Migrant Kids To ‘Torture Facilities’

MarketWatch: Advocates say the fastest Away to help immigrants separated from their children: Post their bail


Update: Trump Delays ICE Raids for 2 Weeks

On Saturday June 22, President Trump tweeted that he is placing a 2-week delay on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids, previously anticipated to begin throughout the country on Sunday, June 23. According to the tweet his decision is “at the request of Democrats”. The tweet gives Congress two weeks to make progress on immigration reform, “if not. Deportations start.”

WH delays ICE raids

See MSNBC News coverage here

The ICE plan to target undocumented immigrants in 10 cities across the country, including San Francisco, sent many people into panic mode. In a statement issued yesterday, San Francisco Police vowed that officers will not help ICE in any immigration raids.

Governor Gavin Newsom and Mayors of Oakland and San Jose denounced the projected ICE raids.

For further information on possible upcoming ICE raids, see the following ABC 7 News coverage from which this information was taken (click the ‘San Francisco’ heading). Also see related links below.