Reuniting families has driven U.S. immigration. What would ending that mean for Californians?

Reuniting families has driven U.S. immigration. What would ending that mean for Californians?

To Edwin Valdez, turning 21 this month meant a lot more than just meeting the legal drinking age.

It meant he could finally sponsor his undocumented immigrant Mexican parents for legal residency. The Sierra College student and North Highlands resident, a U.S.-born citizen, said he prayed as he drove to school on his birthday, asking God to “make it happen” when he petitioned for his parents’ green cards.

So Valdez was dismayed when that same day, on Aug. 2, President Donald Trump announced his support for a bill that would overhaul an immigration process that has long favored family members of legal residents and citizens. The Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, introduced this February by Republican senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue, would halve the flow of legal immigrants into the country and prioritize more skilled visa seekers with a merit-based point system.

Fifty men commit most gun crimes in Sacramento. Could money, mentoring get them to stop?

Those who support bringing Advance Peace to Sacramento argue the current approach isn’t working. Les Simmons, a pastor and activist in south Sacramento, said many of those who work in the city’s most violent neighborhoods think it’s smart to go after triggermen in new ways.

“You can’t arrest your way out of this problem,” said Simmons, who attended the community meeting with Boggan.

Dan a conocer un teléfono de respuesta rápido para los inmigrantes se vean involucrados con agentes de ICE

Organizaciones proinmigrantes del norte de California anunciaron un número telefónico para ayudar a las personas que se vean involucradas con agentes del Servicio de Inmigración y Aduanas (ICE).

How volunteers with yellow caps aim to keep eye on ICE


Volunteers said they are coming together to keep an eye on federal immigration enforcement agents in the Sacramento region.

"We're able to reassure people that they're not going to be taken away in the middle of the night," Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment Director Jovana Fajardo said.

Immigration activists with ACCE are volunteering to be legal observers. Rosario Ramirez is among the volunteers spreading the word about the project and how they aim to help communities in the region.

"All of us know someone who needs the support," Ramirez said. "I think it's an obligation, not only for our union, but also as a person to do the right thing."

Ramirez is an immigrant from Mexico and grew up in San Francisco. She was going door-to-door in south Sacramento Tuesday letting people know about “Migra Legal Observers” and the “Rapid Response” hotline.

The 24-hour line, 913-245-6773, is the place to report ICE raids, Ramirez said. The effort to share the hotline in communities with undocumented immigrants is part of a larger response to President Donald Trump's recent increase in ICE enforcement and the number of ICE agents.

"They're finding it hard living in bad conditions as rents are rising and they're living in fear asking for repairs or living with cockroaches," Fajardo said. "This gives them reassurance they can live their lives and people are supporting them and watching them."

The hotline number, which launched in May, isn't just for keeping tabs on where ICE agents visit. Activists also want community members to call the number to connect with resources like translators and lawyers.

"If ICE comes to your house, to the store, to your work place to call us and we're able to dispatch legal observers to help the family in any way they can," said Edwin Valdez, the response coordinator with the Sacramento Immigration Coalition.

Valdez and other activists helping undocumented immigrants can be identified by the yellow caps they wear.

"This is how to distinguish someone who's helping you from someone who's not," said Valdez, pointing to the yellow cap with an image of a handshake on the front.

KCRA reached out to the ICE office in San Francisco, but they couldn't be reached for comment by the time this story was published.

Activists say they will rush into action during federal immigration raids in Sacramento

Activists say they will rush into action during federal immigration raids in Sacramento

The Sacramento Immigration Coalition has trained about 60 volunteers to serve as legal observers who will take video and notes during any Immigration and Customs Enforcement actions reported to the group’s 24-hour hotline. Observers also will provide detainees with contact information for local attorneys.

The coalition also said its emergency hotline will double as a resource for undocumented immigrants with questions. The number is 916-245-6773.

“After the calls we’ve been receiving, we want to change the message,” said Edwin Valdez, a member of Sacramento Area Congregations Together and the response program’s coordinator. “Yes, it’s an emergency hotline, but we’re also here to help.”

What Sacramento County supervisors can do on criminal justice reform

What Sacramento County supervisors can do on criminal justice reform

As members of the Sacramento Community Reinvestment Coalition, a broad-based group of community organizations, we urge supervisors to reject the old model of public safety based on incarceration and punishment. This model fills our prisons while doing next to nothing to either prevent individuals from getting caught up in the criminal justice system or to rehabilitate those that do. It’s a waste of taxpayer money, and out of touch with the values of our community.

Instead, supervisors must support better schools, affordable housing, access to health care (including mental health services) and broader access to economic opportunities. These are investments that will truly make our community safer by giving all our residents the chance to thrive. To be truly effective, these services must be community-based rather than provided through the law enforcement system.

Could this be the silver bullet to solve Sacramento’s gang problems?

After meeting Boggan on Monday, Pastor Les Simmons, a Sacramento Area Congregations Together board member who was active in Ceasefire, said the city should invest in Advance Peace because it comprehensively focuses on the 1 percent responsible for much of the violence. ACT lead organizer Danielle Williams called the program a community-driven strategy and urged the city to “put its money where it’s mouth is.” “Law enforcement is not the solution,” she added in a statement.

New Sacramento police chief will have a tough job in tense department

Sacramento is interviewing potential police chiefs this week, moving quickly on a pivotal hire intended to fix a department plagued by community mistrust, internal upheaval and deep discord with city leaders.

The new chief will walk into a tough job – attempting to navigate a thin line between anger from rank-and-file officers and calls for continued reforms from community members and some elected officials.

“We’re at a turning point,” said Brent Meyer, a Sacramento police officer and current vice president of the Peace Officers Research Association of California, the statewide law enforcement lobbying group. “It’s a really difficult time to do this job, so we need to find someone who is going to do it right."

Depending on whom you ask, Sacramento police have one of two problems that will be dropped in the new chief’s lap.

Some, including the police union and department personnel, say they are a maligned force beleaguered by bad press and low morale. They say they’re desperate for a leader who can advocate for officers and effectively reshape public perception without resorting to unneeded reforms.

Others, including leaders in African American and faith communities, say the Sacramento Police Department is a good-old-boy agency reluctantly forced toward transparency and accountability in the past year by high-profile confrontations caught on video and the resulting community outrage. They want a chief committed to change.