Statement Regarding Santa Clara County’s Civil Detainer Policy
Members of the Forum for Immigrant Rights & Empowerment (FIRE) Coalition, and its supporters, express our profound condolences to the family and loved ones of Bambi Larson who was tragically murdered in San Jose on February 28. We also urge the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and San Jose officials to not distort or politicize this tragedy into an issue regarding immigration by altering the County’s current civil detainer policy. At this time, healing and unity is what is needed rather than attempts to cause division among our County’s residents. We ask our elected officials to keep the County’s current policy intact so that all community members - regardless of immigration status - can feel safe and are treated equally.
Our County has taken a bold stance in defending and upholding sanctuary policies in the face of attacks by the Trump Administration. We have proudly stood with the County’s efforts to challenge the federal government in court given all that our residents stand to lose by dismantling sanctuary policies. Our County’s policy has made us a pioneer nationally and set the standard for others to follow. Any change in our policy would mean a victory for the Trump Administration and would undermine our County’s leadership in recognizing the due process and civil rights of everyone.
We know that changing the County’s current policy will result in immigrant victims and witness of crimes becoming even more hesitant to come forward and seek justice. There is simply no way to completely alleviate an immigrant community member’s perception that any interaction with local government could result in ICE involvement if any change in policy were to occur. Trust between the immigrant community and the County was already shaken by ICE’s successful efforts to get into our County’s jails last year and we cannot afford to deepen that mistrust by any change in our policy. All victims and witnesses of crimes need to feel safe coming forward and this is especially true for the most vulnerable within immigrant and refugee communities. When our neighbors feel safe coming forward, that increases safety for all of us.
The reality is that ICE already has unprecedented resources and tools to conduct its enforcement operations and our organizations witness the real-life impact on community members every day. Families, students, and community members are routinely apprehended by immigration authorities at their homes, on their way to work, and in their neighborhoods. This is a federal agency which has terrorized our local communities and committed untold atrocities against immigrants, including those who have lost their lives in their custody. It does not need any further assistance in detaining and deporting our County’s residents. Doing so would only make our local government complicit in the federal government’s devastation.
Now is the time for the County to be strong in ensuring everyone is safe and secure. We ask our community and those who support immigrants to contact the Board of Supervisors and let them know that our current policy should remain. Let us instead come together as a community and County to heal, unify, and build trust with each other.
FIRE Coalition Members
Services, Immigrant Rights & Education Network (SIREN)
Silicon Valley De-Bug
Asian Law Alliance
Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC)
Pangea Legal Services
People Acting in Community Together (PACT)
Sacred Heart Community Service
Stanford Law School Immigrants’ Rights Clinic (on behalf of FIRE)
YWCA Silicon Valley
We welcome organizations working within Santa Clara County to join our statement as a supporting organization. If you would like to join this statement, please complete this form.