There is much we can do locally to resist the coming challenges and perhaps our most important opportunity to take action is to protect our neighbors who are subject to deportation.
Somos Un Pueblo Unido, along with several faith, community and Labor organizations, including Retake Our Democracy, are working with city councilors to reaffirm Santa Fe’s sanctuary status and strengthen policies regarding immigrant workers, families and youth. I had thought this resolution was a slam dunk, but in conversations the weekend of Feb 3-5, I found that there are several City Councilors still on the fence, including Ron Trujillo (Dist 3) and both District 4 representatives: Chris Ribera and Michael Harris. Contact info is below, so especially if you live in Districts 3 and 4, please raise your voice. And if you do not live in District 3 or 4, please send an email to friends in those neighborhoods with this link and ask them to contact their representatives (and ask them to sign up for Retake). district_and_precinct_map for a map of the City Council Districts. But even if you do not live in those districts, let these Councilors know that as a fellow Santa Fean, you view this vote as a vote for justice and you will be watching how they vote. I will have more on the constitutional grounds that support the resolution and then will be asking you to reach out to our City Att0rney, as her view on this could be critical in how wavering Council members vote.
The resolution was introduced at the December 14th City Council meeting. We encourage you to call and/or email the Mayor and your City Council Representatives and describe your support for Somos Un Pueblo Unido’s resolution. Since being unanimously approved by the Immigration Committee, much has happened. Read on for new information and what you can do.
Read this important resolution HERE. Please call or email your City Councilors to ask them to co-sponsor. Send Councilors Villareal and Maestas your thanks for working with Somos Un Pueblo Unido and others to introduce this critical measure to protect our community. Originally scheduled for a hearing and vote by the Council on Jan. 25, the resolution was pushed back and now the following schedule is in place.
- Finance Committee 2/13/17, 7pm. Public Comment will be heard and this is an especially important hearing.
- Public Safety Committee 2/21/17. 4pm.
- City Council 2.22/17. Full City Council Discussion and public Comment.
Here are some speaking points. I advise you to embellish and put these points in your own words. And there is no need to use all of them.
- Trump is making daily threats to begin deporting millions of immigrants;
- If successful, millions of families would be torn apart and our local economy would lose some very skilled people;
- Santa Fe officials shouldn’t even have to think about this resolution–passing it is the only decent thing to do;
- If your concern is about the constitutional foundations to this resolution, I am told that any day now, Somos will have a legal brief underscoring the resolution’s constitutionality; and then remind your councilor that
- I vote and I am active and I will remember how you vote on this and will remind others, many others.
The resolution asks the City Council to take action in the following areas.:
- A reaffirmation of our non-discrimination “sanctuary” policy and a broad confidentiality directive: No city employee shall inquire into the immigration status of any person, and any information about a person’s immigration status that is nevertheless acquired by the city shall be treated as confidential and shall not be shared with any other agency.
- The City shall not accept federal law enforcement funding that is conditioned upon providing assistance in the enforcement of the federal civil immigration laws.
- The city shall work to provide community education regarding civil rights to families, youth, workers and employers, as well as material support for the dissemination of information about changes in immigration laws.
- Immigrant enforcement agencies shall not be given permission by city employees to conduct civil immigration enforcement actions on city property or to enter non-public areas of city property without a search warrant.
- The City and SFPD shall have a policy ensuring that state issued non-REAL-ID driver’s licenses, otherwise known as Driver’s Authorization Cards, are accepted on the same basis as REAL ID driver’s licenses by all City employees. The city shall also ensure appropriate training to the police department regarding DACs.
- The city shall enact a policy regarding U visa certification by the local police department to protect immigrant victims of crimes and hate crimes and facilitate their ability to regularize their immigration status. The U visa was created by federal law in 2000 to protect certain noncitizen crime victims and encourage cooperation with law enforcement. Victims can be granted protection from deportation and a pathway to legal immigration status, but must first obtain a signed certification form from a law enforcement agency attesting to past or likely helpfulness of the victim. The SFPD does not currently have a written policy to facilitate certifications.
- The city will not enroll in E-Verify, a web-based employment eligibility verification program run by the Department of Homeland Security notorious for being out-of-date and inaccurate.
- The city will demonstrate a commitment to language access for non-English speaking residents of Santa Fe by recognizing and prioritizing translation and interpretation needs in future budget discussions. The City Manager and Finance Director shall identify departmental needs for adequate funding for translation and interpretation of vital city documents, forums, and services.
- Santa Fe will work with other local governments that have “sanctuary” policies to share strategies and maximize resources in recognizing, integrating, and protecting immigrant families, workers, and youth. This includes Santa Fe County, the Santa Fe Public Schools, the Santa Fe Community College, and neighboring jurisdictions.