California is home to 23 Rapid Response Networks, operating 24/7 community-led hotlines to report and respond to ICE activity. In anticipation of ICE raids which sow seeds of fear and mistrust in the community and facilitate the spread of COVID-19, the networks have called on elected officials to take immediate action to the threat posed to public health by these operations. In response to ICE’s recent attempts to spread panic and dehumanize immigrants in the state of California the networks released the following statement:
The people of the state of California stand united in the face of actions, policies and rhetoric that seek to separate our families and terrorize our communities. Our values and beliefs are reflected in our policies which provide safety and sanctuary for all of our residents.
This operation announced by ICE is a calculated PR stunt designed to distract from the catastrophic failure of ICE as an agency, including the unabated spread of COVID-19, the mounting death toll in detention and the horrific news that the agency has engaged in forced hysterectomies.
ICE’s decision to conduct these operations during a pandemic is not only a reckless threat to human life but flies in the face of their own mandatory guidance on COVID-19. ICE can flex its muscles and push whatever narrative it wants about sanctuary cities but the crimes that need to be highlighted are the ones being committed by that agency every single day.
ICE’s goal is to try to legitimize their existence in the face of the obvious and overwhelming reality that detention is deadly, and the abuse and demonization of immigrants is wrong. They will go down in history for their decision to separate children from their families and trampling on the values that made America a nation of immigrants.
Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) is currently leading a sign-on letter on behalf of state elected officials, addressed to local and state public health authorities expressing deep concern over the threat posed to public health by ICE’s actions and reiterating to them that ICE is obligated to abide by state and local public health mandates.
Our networks remain united in our fight to defend our community, and will continue to closely monitor ICE in our communities, particularly as the agency expands the use of expedited removal. We ask that elected officials in the state of California respond appropriately to the public health crisis perpetuated by ICE in detention facilities across our state, and do everything in their power to protect public health and our communities.
The Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice: Emergency Response Network Services, Immigrant Rights & Education Network (SIREN)
San Francisco Rapid Response Network
San Diego Rapid Response Network
Long Beach Community Defense Network
The Rapid Response Network in Santa Clara County
California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice
Pangea Legal Services
Immigrant Defenders Law Center
Immigrant Defense Advocates
Promesa Boyle Heights
Sacramento Rapid Response Network
North Bay Rapid Response Network: Napa, Solano and Sonoma Counties
Monterey County Rapid Response Network
Pajaro Valley Rapid Response Network
Orange County Rapid Response Network
San Mateo Rapid Response Network
Marin Rapid Response Network
Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA): Los Angeles Rapid Response Network Valley Watch Network
ACILEP – Alameda County Immigration Legal and Education Partnership