click to enlarge High school students protested Donald Trump on November 11 in Oakland.

High school students protested Donald Trump on November 11 in Oakland.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Oakland, Richmond, Berkeley Leaders Vow to Protect Immigrants Against Trump Administration

By Darwin BondGraham
Fri, Nov 18, 2016 at 3:16 PM

The leaders of three East Bay sanctuary cities are sending unambiguous signals that they will try to protect immigrants against xenophobic federal policies that the incoming Trump administration is expected to adopt.

In response to Trump's election, Richmond Mayor Tom Butt issued a statement today reaffirming that his city won't enforce federal immigration policies.

"Protecting our immigrant community is a foundation of community policing that makes Richmond a safer place for all our residents," Butt wrote.

Along with the mayors of over 100 other cities representing 55 million people, Butt co-signed an open letter Trump stating that the well-being of immigrants affects the well-being of all.

"Immigrants are integral members of our cities and counties, and immigrant families are crucial to our success," the letter states.

Richmond and Oakland are both cities of immigrants.

About 42,000 Richmond residents were born in another country, equal to 38 percent of the total population.

One-quarter of Oakland's population, or 113,00 people, are immigrants, according to the U.S. Census. Approximately 62,000 of these people are non-U.S. citizens. One study found that as many as 15,000 undocumented immigrants live in East Oakland.

Earlier this week, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf wrote in an op-ed that her city will "proudly stand as a sanctuary city — protecting our residents from what we deem unjust federal immigration laws."

Oakland councilmembers Annie Campbell Washington, Larry Reid, Noel Gallo, and Abel Guillen are sponsoring a resolution opposing immigration raids and calling on the Obama administration to impose a moratorium to protect the civil rights of immigrants.

In Berkeley, staff in councilmember Jesse Arreguin's office told the Express that Arreguin is committed to protecting Berkeley's immigrant community and its status as a city of sanctuary. In fact, the sanctuary movement began in Berkeley in the 1970s as clergy worked to shield soldiers and immigrants from the federal government. Arreguin, who will take office as Mayor of Berkeley next year, plans to announce a more comprehensive response next week.

Responding to Trump's rhetoric and his election, Berkeley councilmember Kriss Worthington introduced a resolution to extend the city's existing "hate free zone."

"If President-elect Trump enacts policies or Presidential Orders to execute any of his hateful messages, millions of minorities in Americans will face unprecedented persecution, particularly people of Arabic decent, Muslim faith, Asian-American, AfricanAmerican, Women, Immigrants, Disabled, and LGTBQQIA," wrote Worthington.

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