Carr Holds Community Meeting Against Gun Violence

SACRAMENTO -- Sacramento city council member Larry Carr held a gathering Wednesday morning at the Meadowview Community Center to talk about gun violence.

"As we've seen through the last year, it's been something that has plagued a lot of our streets," Sacramento Area Congregations Together spokesperson Ryan McClinton said. "It led to a lot of bloodshed and life loss that needs to be addressed."

The Sacramento City Council voted recently to adopt a controversial program that offers a stipend to known troublemakers in the city to put down their guns and stay peaceful.

McClinton thinks the program, known as Advance Peace, is a good start.

A big issue for Carr is that recent gang-related gun violence often puts innocent bystanders at risk.

Deborah Nelson is all too familiar with gun violence. It's been seven years since her daughter was killed in the barbershop shooting on Stockton Boulevard. Monique Nelson was shielding her 2-year-old son when bullets, not intended for her, came flying by.

"The real danger is many times they don't hit their target and hit innocent individuals as in the case of Miss Nelson's daughter," Carr said. "Every life is precious and we have too many people in our city, in our state, in our country getting shot. So we want to stop that."

Deportation panic: Even the sheriff doesn’t know what immigration authorities are planning for Sacramento

Rumors of a major immigration sweep targeting Northern California have put politicians, local activists on even higher alert

By Raheem F. Hosseini

This article was published on 01.25.18.

Citing a source familiar with the operation, the San Francisco Chronicle reported last week that federal immigration authorities were plotting what could be the largest deportation sweep under President Donald Trump in cities across Northern California.

The January 17 article said the planned raids could result in the arrests of 1,500 undocumented immigrants as the Trump administration looks to make an example of California, which rebuked the president’s anti-immigrant agenda by mandating non-cooperation with indiscriminate deportation efforts. Since the Chronicle report, communities across California have been tensing with anticipation over what may be heading their way.

“Everything continues to be rumors,” said Carlos Montes-Ponce, a community organizer with Sacramento ACT (which stands for Area Congregations Together). “People are really looking for information.”

But the federal government’s plans have remained locked in a proverbial black box, with even powerful politicians pressing for answers.

In a joint letter issued the same day as the Chronicle report, U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris requested a briefing from Thomas Homan, acting director of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, better known as ICE. The letter referenced Homan’s January 2 statements on Fox News, where he ominously warned that “California better hold on tight.”

“We firmly believe that law enforcement must prioritize dangerous criminals, not undocumented immigrants who do not pose a threat to public safety,” the California Democrats’ letter read. “Diverting resources in an effort to punish California and score political points is an abhorrent abuse of power, not to mention a terrible misuse of scarce resources.”

An ICE spokesman didn’t respond to an SN&R request for comment Tuesday.

A day earlier, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said during a meeting with a community advisory board that he was in the dark, too. “I’ve never been informed of an ICE raid,” Jones said. “We don’t work with them. We don’t do anything. They do their thing.”

The Sheriff’s Department does have a passive relationship with ICE, which enforces federal immigration policy in the United States. Since 2000, ICE has leased space at the Sheriff’s Department’s jail in Elk Grove, where ICE incarcerates detainees being processed for deportation.

California’s so-called sanctuary law, Senate Bill 54, further restricted the level of cooperation that local law enforcement agencies and employers can grant to federal immigration authorities, but carved out an exception for preexisting detainee contracts like the one the Sheriff’s Department has with ICE. “It doesn’t affect our ability to continue that contract or renew that contract,” Jones explained.

That contract is due to expire later this year, unless the federal government and the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors decide to renew it.

Jones noted that SB 54 “still allows ICE to come into our facilities and access our inmates,” though the inmates have to be advised of their right not to speak to agents. “It has very little impact on their ability to come in and conduct interviews and take custody of most of the folks they would otherwise take custody of,” the sheriff added.

In the meantime, immigration advocates are on high alert, where they’ve been since Trump was elected.

On Monday, more than 100 people from different faiths and 13 states struck a defiant tone against the raid rumors inside a ballroom at the Hilton Sacramento Arden West in North Sacramento. The Sacramento Immigration Coalition was among the organizations represented. The coalition organizes regular know-your-rights trainings, has set up a rapid-response hotline and is training community members to act as legal observers—“what we call moral observers,” Montes-Ponce said.

The organizer was careful to note that legal observers are dispatched to scenes of immigration arrests to monitor authorities, not to intervene. “They’re only there to observe, not to break up anything,” he explained.

Since SB 54 went into effect, Montes-Ponce said Sacramento ACT has been hearing anecdotal accounts of ICE agents arresting people at their homes in the early morning hours.

“Right now it just continues to be threats,” he said.

Experts explain legal boundaries when resisting ICE raids



Churches and synagogues are teaming up with immigrant rights groups and actively urging people to resist any raids by federal agents.

"We have a moral obligation to resist massive deportation," said Richard Morales of La Red, which stands for Liberation, Action, Respect, Equity and Dignity.

"We're going to continue to protect and resist any attacks on our families across the board," said Eddie Carmona of PICO, People Involving Communities through Organizing.

The battle over immigration reform is heating up in Sacramento, where activists are utilizing rapid response teams and telephone hotlines to warn undocumented immigrants about potential raids.

"Black and brown people will no longer be divided," said the Rev. Payton Parker of Faith in Texas. "We will stand united," he said to cheers at a Sacramento rally Monday.

Sacramento's largest Jewish synagogue, Congregation B'nai Israel is an official sanctuary site, offering support to undocumented immigrants.

But could federal agents enter the temple grounds for enforcement actions?

"It's something the government hasn't done," UC Davis Law School Dean Kevin Johnson said. "But, there might not be anything under the law that would prohibit that."

ICE agents would first need a warrant signed by a court, Johnson explained. But he said the optics might not look good.

"At this point, it seems to be official ICE policy that churches are going to be safe," Johnson said. "Public schools are generally going to be safe places from ICE enforcement."

The same is true for hospitals.

But can ICE agents enter your home?

There are rules in place to protect immigrants, according to Blake Nordahl, a professor at the McGeorge School of Law. Nordahl also runs the school's Immigration Law Clinic.

"The only way an officer can come into your home is if they have a judicial warrant signed by a court that provides the right to search your home," he said.

Carlos Montez of Sacramento Area Congregations Together said immigrants "have the right not to speak to the individual ICE agent. They have the right not to open the door unless they present a warrant that is signed by a judge."

If immigration agents do enter with a warrant, Nordahl said it's important not to lie about immigration status.

"You cannot present documentation that is false," Nordahl said. "You cannot make any false statements. But, you do have that very important right if you are undocumented to remain silent."

Businesses must also comply with a search warrant signed by a judge. 

"If there's a judicially authorized warrant they have to make all their property available," Johnson said. "What employers don't have to do is let ICE look at private parts of the workplace that are not open to the public, absent a warrant."

California businesses must also keep records of their employees on I-9 forms and make them available in the event of an audit.

Until there's a deal on DACA or new rules on immigration law, activists have vowed to continue the fight.

"Our families, our communities are all under threat," said Tuan Dinh Janelle of People Acting in Community Together.

KCRA 3 tried reaching out to ICE on Monday for comment, but there was no response due to the government shutdown. However, ICE's acting director has publicly stated that California can expect enhanced enforcement.

California's status as a sanctuary state doesn't change federal law, but it does mean local police cannot help ICE agents during their enforcement actions.

California is also fighting back in other ways. Gov. Jerry Brown's state budget calls for $20 million to help undocumented students renew their DACA applications.

How far can resisting ICE go before feds push back

Religious groups and others on behalf of Sacramento Area Congregations Together are urging undocumented immigrants to not cooperate in the event of an enforcement action or raid by ICE.

They are urging people to contact rapid response teams in the event of a raid and offering legal advice that includes not talking to ICE agents and insisting on having a lawyer.

Legal experts said ICE has full authority to make arrests and deportations, but undocumented immigrants don't have to open the door to them unless they have a warrant signed by a judge.

Faith Leaders Rally Against Potential Northern California ICE Raids

More than 110 faith leaders from 13 states met in Sacramento today to oppose potential ICE raids rumored for Northern California.

The groups say the threats from ICE further support the Trump Administration’s policies that target immigrants.

“The faith community has an obligation to stand with a community that’s being targeted and we’re there to support them,” says Carlos Montes-Ponce with the organization Sacramento Area Congregations Together.

He says it’s important for groups of faith to speak out against what they consider to be racism.

“This event was about faith leaders organizing around local strategy as a resistance to Donald Trump’s policies on immigration,” says Montes-Ponce. “Taking back the narrative that we are out organizing our community in defense of the most vulnerable people in our community."

The groups say they will condemn efforts to intimidate and that now is the time for people of faith to defend immigrants. In response, they’ve set up an emergency hotline for undocumented immigrants with questions. That number is 916-245-6773.

Immigration Advocates Busy As Threats Of California Raids Linger

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Immigration supporters are urging currentDACA recipients to renew their DACA status, despite the uncertainty and fears of immigration raids.

Now community groups are working to prepare volunteers to be legal observers.

“They have human dignity, and I want to support that,” said Jeannette Hogan with Unitarian Universal Church in Davis. “Even if our laws aren’t just, I want to make sure they are appropriately applied.”

She and about a dozen others took part in legal observer training.

“They’re trained to document everything. take pictures, notes, and just really be moral observers of the situation,” said Edwin Valdez, a rapid response coordinator with Sacramento ACT.

These meetings are a way for local groups to bolster their volunteer support in case of immigration sweeps.

“We’re at least able to tell a family member, ‘Hey this is what happens, but don’t feel alone,’” said Valdez.

Valdez says fear of the unknown is sweeping through the undocumented immigrant community. Rumors of more ice raids and a back and forth in Washington concerning DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, are the main contributors.

“There’s a sense of urgency in the community to submit DACA renewal applications,” said Marcus Tang.

Tang is a lawyer with the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation. He says their office received more than 100 phone calls on Thursday, 10 times the norm.

He and the other attorneys provide free legal assistance and guidance for people with questions about attaining legal status.

“We try to stick with what we know is true and verifiable and give that to the community,” said Tang.

The flood of questions from many people is about what the future holds.

“What does that mean for me, what does that mean for my status? What do I do?” Said Valdez.

The answers are much more difficult in a time of uncertainty.

Sacramento faith organizations provide sanctuary, resources to undocumented people

A Sacramento based interfaith organization is running a 24-hour legal observer hotline for undocumented immigrants at risk of being separated from their families.

The legal observer hotline was launched by several community groups including the Sacramento Area Congregations Together (ACT) in partnership with the Sacramento Immigration Coalition.

Undocumented and immigrant families with federal agents at their door or for others who need help getting legal resources, may call the 24-hour line for emergency assistance, said ACT organizer Gabby Trejo.

“The priority is to insure that families knows their rights to remain silent and be represented,” said Trejo. The number is (916) 245-6773.

Volunteers in the legal observer network will respond to homes in Sacramento, Yolo, and Placer counties, who will then document the exchange between families and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
There are Sacramento ACT sister organizations in Stockton, Modesto, the San Francisco Bay area, and California’s Central Valley running similar services.

In February 2017, Sacramento’s oldest Jewish congregation stepped in to provide sanctuary to undocumented people. Senior Rabbi Mona Alfi said the Congregation B'nai Israel felt it was necessary.

“Our congregation felt that it was imperative for us to act and to do something,” Alfi said. “Because as Jews we know what it’s like to be on the outside. We know what it’s like to be the stranger.”

The congregation is working with Sacramento ACT via the hotline in the event families are in need of sanctuary the Rabbi said it will be provided.