Mobilizing Grassroots Support for Immigrant Rights

By Tracey Corder, Field Director

Immigrants are an integral part of our community's fabric, comprising 1 in 3 residents of Alameda County. Families should be able to live together safely, without fear of being separated. While cities across the state and the country have declared that they are sanctuary spaces to all residents regardless of immigration status, they lack a consistent definition. In an attempt to clarify what sanctuary means, Senate Pro Tem Kevin de Leon introduced SB 54 - the California Values Act, which would officially declare California a Sanctuary State with the following provisions:

  • end collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Border Protection in local jails
  • ban state agencies from requesting or collecting anyone’s immigration status
  • prohibit the use of county jails for immigration enforcement
  • restrict ICE’s access to state databases

Over the past 2 weeks, a rapid response team of more than 20 volunteers have helped us mobilize voters to put grassroots pressure on key legislators in support of the California Values Act. Calling voters throughout the state, our volunteers used patch-through technology to connect them with their State Senators. Once connected, voters conveyed a message that not only should their State Senators vote "yes" on the California Values Act, but that they should also stand strong with immigrants by not allowing pressure from the California Sheriff's Association to weaken or kill the bill.

Oakland Rising's efforts to garner support for SB 54 is part of a statewide campaign. As a member of California Calls, we worked alongside our 30 community-based partner organizations statewide representing over 700,000 supportive voters in 13 counties. Our collective grassroots effort helped move the California Values Act through the Senate where it passed with a vote of 27 to 12. SB 54 is now on its way to the Assembly where the battle will continue.

Part of the resistance to the national anti-immigrant, xenophobic agenda is protecting everyone who lives in California. ALL of our community members deserve to feel safe and included as we continue to fight for immigration status for as many people as possible. Oakland Rising is committed to providing real sanctuary for our neighbors and will continue our work to resist dangerous policies, protect our people and advance progressive legislation that is rooted in racial, economic, and environmental justice. 

TAKE ACTION: Call your Assemblymember today and urge them to vote "yes" on SB 54 in committee and on the floor, and to encourage their colleagues to support the bill without amendments. Find out who your Assemblymember is here.

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