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Life through the Secure Communities lens

What is “Secure Communities” or S-Comm (as we prefer to call it)?

I believe NNIRR (National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights) best summarizes it: “This program uses the information-sharing capability between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to quickly identify anyone who is not a U. S. citizen who has been arrested and booked, whether or not the are convicted if the alleged crime, are checked against FBI and immigration records. If fingerprints match DHS records, ICE sends a “hold” or “detainer” request to the local law enforcement agency asking them to detain the person for up to 48 hours until ICE agents can determine the immigration status of the person and initiate deportation proceedings against them. 

Undocumented and Unafraid!

It’s pretty ironic that ICE decided to use the name “Secure Communities” isn’t it?

"Undocumented and Unafraid!" Shirts worn by the undocumented students at the Stop S-Comm rally in Chicago.

But we the people are the only ones that can bring about change. This can be done by raising our voices and letting city and government officials know that we will not stand for this. We are all affected in one way or another, so we must all share the burden of doing the right and just thing.

If you are in the area of Berkeley, join me at the Community Forum and Speak out @ Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalist on Monday, October 24, 2011 from 6:30 to 9:00 pm (refreshments from 6:30 to 7 pm). This event is being hosted by the Coalition for a Safe Berkeley*, to unveil proposed city legislation to protect civil and human rights in the face of increasing federal surveillance, repression, deportations and racial profiling.

The Speak-Out will feature testimony from Berkeley residents (and others) about their personal experiences with these abuses of civil and human rights.  The following human rights leaders will provide background information:

  •  Veena Dubal, Lead Attorney, Asian Law Caucus:  Political and religious surveillance
  •  Shahid Buttar, Executive Director, Bill of Rights Defense Committee:  campaigns around the country to restore civil rights
  •  Cinthya Munoz, Immigrant Rights Organizer with Causa Justa::Just Cause:  “Secure Communities Program”
  •  Mansour Id-Deen, Vice President, Berkeley NAACP:  Racial Profiling

This panel will speak to the power of municipal civil rights restoration ordinances to restrain local police collaboration with repressive federal agencies.

*Members of the Coalition for a Safe Berkeley include:  American Civil Liberties Union Northern California (Berkeley/North East Bay Chapter), Asian Law Caucus, Berkeley City Councilmember Jesse Arreguin, Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Council on American Islamic Relations, FMLN Berkeley, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (Berkeley), National Lawyers Guild (Bay Area Chapter), National Network on Immigrant and Refugee Rights (partial list)