Three Immigration Questions for Santa Ana City Council Candidates

For Immediate Release // Excuse Cross Posting
October 10, 2016

Contact: Hairo Cortes, OCIYU, 657.272.3475, hairo@ociyu.org

Santa Ana, CA – As election day approaches, and City Council candidates in Santa Ana share their vision for the city in candidate forums, we have been dismayed by the fact that this year’s candidates have not been asked to speak about their positions on local immigration policy.

In order to further the conversation, and provide the city’s residents with a more complete picture of the candidates’ visions, OCIYU submitted the following questions to all city council candidates, and asked that they submit their responses to OCIYU by October 15, for publication on our website, www.ociyu.org.

“Santa Ana is a heavily immigrant city, and as a result, it is in the public’s interest to have more information about your positions on immigration,” Faby Jacome, OCIYU’s Deportation Defense Organizer, said.

The questions are as follow:

1. In 2016 the Santa Ana City Council rejected a proposal to expand the scope of immigrant detention under the contract between the Santa Ana City Jail and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Later in the year, against the objections of the Santa Ana Police Officers’ Association (SAPOA) who favor expanding the city’s immigration detention business, the city council voted to allow the immigration detention contract to expire without renewal in 2020.

Should you be elected to the City Council will you ensure that the city keeps its promise to get out of the business of detaining immigrants for a profit no later than 2020? If so, will you be open to working with Immigrant and LGBTQ community members to end the ICE-Jail contract in Santa Ana before 2020? Or will you side with the SAPOA and push to maintain and expand immigrant detention?

2. With the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program unable to move forward as a result of the Supreme Court’s deadlocked decision, immigrant communities continue to suffer from President Obama’s mass deportation policies, especially in cities like Santa Ana, with its large immigrant population. With little movement at the national level, many immigrant rights organizations, like OCIYU and RAIZ, have turned to fighting individual deportation cases with community and elected officials’ support, and been successful at stopping deportations.

Should you be elected to the city council, will you support or continue to support, deportation defense campaigns for individual community members in Santa Ana? If so, what would be your criteria for deciding whether to support a resident’s deportation defense campaign?

3. This summer, Sheriff Sandra Hutchens renewed her department’s 287(g) agreement with ICE, which allows sheriff deputies inside the county’s jails to act as immigration enforcement agents giving them the authority to question those detained in the jail about their immigration status for deportation purposes. Although Orange County is the last county in the state to have 287(g) agreement, ICE and the Department of Homeland Security continue pressing local governments and law enforcement agencies to adopt programs that entangle sheriff and police departments with immigration enforcement, despite numerous studies that show that programs like these do not reduce crime rates, and recommendations from President Obama’s own Task Force on 21st Century Policing to disentangle local law enforcement agencies from immigration enforcement.

Knowing what we know about the effects of local participation in immigration enforcement, which resulted in nearly 3 million deportations in the last 8 years due to programs like 287(g), Criminal Alien Removal Initiative, and the now defunct Secure Communities, do you believe that local law enforcement agencies should continue to collaborate with ICE? If yes, to what extent? As a council member, will you be supportive of local, statewide, and national efforts to end participation in these programs?

###