The vote by the Claremont City Council in “Safeguarding the Civil Rights, Safety, and Dignity of all People” was a big victory for our targeted communities – for our immigrant communities – and adds to the large number of cities, colleges, schools, churches, unions, and neighborhoods that are responding to the tension and climate of fear created by the election of Donald Trump. It is a response to blatant words and actions of racism, sexism, homophobia and attacks against our immigrant families, our DACA students, our Muslims, our women, our physically and mentally challenged brothers and sisters. We applaud the commitment and tenacity of hundreds of students and community people who sat through seven hours of passionate testimony in defense of our targeted communities. As many agreed in their presentations, this is only a beginning and has to be followed up with voting, accountability, and further preparation for what is to come. Trump has promised to reinstate the Secure Communities program nationally which, prior to its termination, operated in California as an indiscriminate mass deportation program at great cost to California both financially and otherwise. According to a report prepared by Justice Strategies in 2012, under S-Comm, California taxpayers spent an estimated $65 million annually to detain people for ICE. Continuing to tangle state and local public safety resources with the dirty business of deportations threatens the civil rights and safety of all who reside in California. Such actions foster racial profiling, police mistreatment, and wrongful arrests, which further undermine trust between local communities and law enforcement. That is why it was particularly significant that the resolution declared Claremont as a “safe place” for all people (against acts of bullying, hate, and violence – supporting colleges who have designated their campuses as sanctuaries and who are calling for the continuation of DACA) – and most importantly committing to not enforcing federal immigration law, not conducting immigration enforcement raids, and not question, detain, or arrest individuals solely on the basis of their being undocumented. As part of these continuing efforts, the Latino and Latina Roundtable of the San Gabriel and Pomona Valley will continues to support other similar organizing efforts throughout the state and nation – and urges support for SB 54 (de León), which protects the safety and well-being of all Californians by ensuring that state and local resources are not used to fuel mass deportations, separate families, or divide Californians on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, immigration status, or national or ethnic origins.
Jose Zapata Calderon Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Chicano/a and Latino/a Studies 1050 North Mills Avenue Claremont, CA 91711-6101 (909) 952-1640 Jose_Calderon@pitzer.edu Website: www.josezcalderon.com