Immigrant Rights

AROC believes it is critical for Arabs to take part in the discussion for migrant rights locally, nationally, and locally.  As such, AROC participates in immigrant rights actions, works in solidarity with other immigrant communities, and is an active member of the SF Immigrant Legal Education Network and the San Francisco Immigrant Rights Defense Committee.

SFIRDC is a Committee of over 30 organizations working together in San Francisco to create a more just city for our immigrant communities.

The San Francisco Immigrant Rights Defense Committee is a growing alliance of immigrant rights advocates, labor groups, faith leaders, youth advocates, and LGBT activists.

SAN FRANCISCO IMMIGRANT RIGHTS DEFENSE COMMITTEE
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Immigrants from poor countries come to our city because of the impacts of US Free Trade Agreements, such as NAFTA and CAFTA.  Immigrant communities come to our city as globalization refugees and their main focus is to improve the living conditions of their families. Immigrants are 40% of our city’s population, and they contribute greatly to the financial wellbeing of our city.

PROBLEM: Over the last 8 months, our city has been held hostage by intense media and anti-immigrant pressure that has scapegoated immigrant communities and immigrant youth.  Acts of violence hurt our communities.  When these incidents involve individual immigrants, they should not be used to discriminate against and punish a whole community.

POLICY RECOMMENDATION:

  1. Reiterate San Francisco’s values in support of social justice and in defense of a civic obligation to all residents including immigrants.
  2. Have the Mayor make a public statement and further policies upholding our city’s belief that all SF residents regardless of immigration status have the right to live free from fear in our city.
  3. Have the face of the Mayor’s office and our city’s leadership on immigration issues be someone with a strong background on civil and human rights

PROBLEM: Immigration Customs & Enforcement (ICE) agents have for the past few years intensified their enforcement activities in our city.  This has meant an increase in raids at private homes, on public streets, and at worksites.  Reports indicate that these raids are conducted without proper warrants and target predominantly workers and families.  Thousands of San Francisco immigrant families, including children, live in terror that they may be separated from their families at any moment.  Many fail to access city services to which they are legally entitled for fear of being arrested by ICE.  Mayor Newsom has not yet publicly denounced these raids and must do so immediately.

POLICY RECOMMENDATION:

  1. Mayor Newsom must work to stop federal ICE raids in San Francisco by publicly denouncing them and by personally lobbying Congressional leaders to support just implementation and reform of immigration laws.
  2. San Francisco must maintain and increase funding to support immigrant communities to assist immigrants in the aftermath of raids on issues of deportation proceedings, family separation, employment discrimination, and other issues.

PROBLEM: San Francisco neighborhoods with high concentrations of immigrant residents report that the San Francisco Police Department has been conducting random police check-points to profile and harass immigrant residents.  Reports indicate that many Latino drivers and pedestrians are stopped and questioned based on race.  Latino immigrant drivers often have their vehicles confiscated; and Latino residents have had their green cards confiscated by SFPD. As long as immigrant drivers are unable to acquire a state driver’s license, SFPD must not target them for vehicle confiscation.

POLICY RECOMMENDATION:

  1. SFPD must stop conducting random traffic and pedestrian check-points, which lead to racial profiling and vehicle confiscations targeting immigrant drivers, and which are likely to result in expensive litigation.
  2. SFPD must not confiscate greencards and other identification from immigrant residents as that it unlawful.

PROBLEM: Under San Francisco’s new policy, immigrant youth are torn away from their families, and often wrongfully detained and reported to immigration enforcement by Juvenile Probation simply for being booked for alleged crimes prior to receiving an attorney or a hearing on the charges. It is unconscionable that San Francisco is depriving immigrant youth of due process and referring these youth to inhumane detention conditions, often far away from their families.

POLICY RECOMMENDATION:

  1. Immigrant youth must be afforded the same due process rights as all San Franciscans. They must not be automatically referred by juvenile probation to immigration officials for deportation at the booking stage prior to a hearing on the charges.
  2. Immigrant youth who have contact with the juvenile system must be protected by the same principles governing the juvenile justice system — rehabilitation, family unification, and confidentiality.
  3. The city must invest resources in providing all youth including immigrant children, quality education, job opportunities, and the resources to help them be productive members of our communities.

PROBLEM: Approximately one year ago, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors overwhelmingly passed the law instituting the Municipal Identification Program, so that city residents, regardless of immigration status, could obtain official city identification.  Despite the delay in implementation, the program was eventually implemented in January 2009.  However, residents have expressed concern that there is a long waitlist for residents to obtain an appointment to obtain the ID.

POLICY RECOMMENDATION:

  1. The Municipal ID Program must be implemented effectively and must provide equal access to everyone, including immigrant residents. It is imperative for many San Francisco residents to acquire their municipal identification in order to easily access city services.