Dozens of local officials urge passage of California bill that ‘will keep families together’
“The LA County Board of Supervisors has already made it a policy to end cooperation between the Sheriff and ICE, and supports ending this cruel and voluntary practice across the state,” officials wrote. “Support for the VISION Act from Los Angeles City Councilmember Kevin de Leon, author of the California Values Act ‘SB 54’ demonstrates that current state law does not go far enough to protect California’s immigrant and refugee communities from being transferred to ICE.”
The historic California Values Act, signed into law by former Gov. Jerry Brown in 2017, limits the involvement of police and sheriffs in deportations. But immigrants continue to remain vulnerable, because individuals who have already served their time in state prison or have been ordered for release are still turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, often on the day of their release. The VISION Act would end these unjust and unneeded transfers, which have included U.S. military veterans who have served their country:
“It is imperative that as Los Angeles County elected officials, we unequivocally reject the scapegoating of our community, and finally put an end to those harmful policies of double punishment for immigrants and refugees who have already completed their sentences, had their charges dropped, were granted release by a judge, or obtained parole,” officials continued. “Earning parole is a rigorous process, where currently less than one in five people who present their case to the Board are found ‘suitable’ for parole each year.” Those targeted transfers have included immigrants who have spent countless hours rehabilitating themselves and serving as peer mentors to other incarcerated people.
Experts with the UCLA School of Law have previously noted that passage of the VISION Act would offer a chance to help “alleviate the harms” of century-old laws rooted in anti-Asian racism. California lawmakers of the early 1900s were enthusiastic supporters of racist law that “linked narcotics to Asian Americans and other racial groups as a way of justifying their deportation.” Since then, these harms have also moved beyond the communities originally targeted.
“The VISION Act is the next step toward a vision of California where we set the example for equality under the law that must include immigrants and refugees,” L.A. officials continue. Signatories include council members from Los Angeles, Burbank, West Hollywood, and San Fernando, as well as the vice mayors of Alhambra and Burbank. They further said that local law enforcement has spent millions in taxpayer funds transferring immigrants from local jails to ICE custody, more than $7 million in 2018 and 2019 alone.
“The VISION Act will ensure the constitutional right to equal justice under the law and affirm our values in upholding the civil and human rights of immigrants and refugees. We respectfully ask for your public endorsement of this landmark bill that will transform the lives of many immigrant and refugee communities in Los Angeles and CA and vote yes on AB 937.” The bill will be voted on this week. We’ll keep you updated.
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