How to Support Asylum Seekers – Locally

We’ve heard much about the pressing needs of asylum seekers in places where they cross the border into the U.S. But there are less known needs that exist elsewhere – including in our own communities.

Indivisible East Bay recently heard from Theresa Gonzales, Executive Director of Centro Legal de la Raza, and Carolina Martin Ramos, Director of Programs and Advocacy, about the organization’s work and the immigration crisis that rarely makes the headlines. According to Carolina, the situation (like all politics) is local. Many detained children separated from their parents and asylum seekers traveling with caravans may present themselves to immigration officials at the border, and are initially processed at or near the border, but they don’t stay there. After they’re released to sponsors, bond out, or are paroled into the US, they’re most likely to travel to other parts of the country to reunite with family members or sponsors. 

And Oakland – and the San Francisco Bay Area generally – are destinations for many unaccompanied children and asylum seekers. In fact, according to Carolina, they’re more likely to have family members and sponsors here than in border cities like San Diego or El Paso. 

The heavy lifting in many migrants’ immigration cases or deportation proceedings thus happens not at the border but where they settle. They need long-term legal representation and resources there – and the burden of helping them falls on local organizations in those locations. Unfortunately, these local groups have limited resources to respond to the recent arrivals’ needs – they’ve already stretched their scant budgets working with long-time resident immigrant populations facing deportation. 

As Centro Legal de la Raza also points out: Because immigration proceedings are administrative and not criminal proceedings, asylum seekers are not guaranteed legal representation or other due process safeguards. Most, in fact, don’t have legal representation; in 2017, only about 30% were represented. Being without legal representation drastically lowers an asylum seeker’s chances of success: for example, 5% of those who won relief between 2007-2012 were without an attorney. Studies find that asylum seekers are anywhere from 24% more likely to 10.5 times more likely to be successful if they have legal representation. Very few organizations are prepared to offer legal representation to asylum seekers once they arrive at their destinations.

What you can do:

Local organizations helping asylum seekers need your support!

  • Centro Legal de la Raza is the leader in removal defense in California and is in the heart of the Fruitvale District of Oakland, where many asylum seekers and unaccompanied children are arriving. 
  • ACILEP, the Alameda County Rapid Response partnership, is a partnership of Centro Legal, Alameda County Public Defender’s Office, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance, Causa Justa/Just Cause, Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, Street Level Health Project, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, Oakland Community Organizations (OCO), and Vietnamese Community Center of the East Bay. All ACILEP organizational partners are doing critical work and responding to immigration emergencies. 
  • Stand Together Contra Costa is a rapid response, legal services, and community education project supporting CoCo County immigrant families. It offers free legal clinics to provide immigrants with individualized legal consultations, advice on legal rights, and arranging referrals for pro-bono or low-cost legal services. Individuals who have been detained may be eligible to receive free legal representation to pursue bond or release, and more. Find out how to get involved.
  • In San Francisco, organizations like CARECEN, Catholic Charities, ICWC and Dolores Street Community Services are also responding to the needs of noncitizens.
  • Another way to help is to support local bond funds.
  • Cookies Not Cages! El Cerrito Progressives is raising funds to support the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant (EBSC), which provides legal support for local immigrant minors here without their families. Thousands of unaccompanied minors are living in California, and hundreds attend local area schools. ECP is holding monthly bake sales at El Cerrito Plaza (near Trader Joe’s) during August, September, and October, on the third Saturday of the month; and at Kensington Farmers Market on the third Sunday of the month. If you’re interested in baking or staffing the table please contact Ada Fung at as.fung@gmail.com  Can’t make it? You can also donate at this gofundme fundraiser.
  • See more in our recent article, Show UP for Immigrant Justice.

Impeachment takes flight

Deadline: Now, while the iron is hot –

After running calls to action and articles for months asking you to urge our Representatives to open an impeachment inquiry (see the list at the end of this article), we’re happy to report, in Professor Laurence Tribe’s expert words, that the eagle has taken flight!

The House Judiciary Committee’s initiation of an impeachment inquiry was revealed publicly in the Committee’s July 26 court filing seeking the release of grand jury materials that were redacted in the Mueller Report. As of August 1, a majority of the House Democratic caucus, nearly 120 members, now support an impeachment inquiry, thanks to YOUR hard work! It’s a great start, but we must keep up the pressure – we must get louder than ever and ensure our lawmakers follow through. Also on August 1, Indivisible National, in coalition with Need to Impeach, MoveOn, and Stand Up America, launched Impeachment August, a broad campaign to help achieve what we’ve been working on: pressuring the House Democrats to vote for a formal impeachment inquiry.

What you can do:

All of our East Bay representatives have come out in support of impeachment, but that’s just the first step. We need them to support the proposed House Resolutions on impeachment: H.Res. 257, Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s resolution to authorize an impeachment inquiry, and H.Res. 396, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s resolution which also includes potential articles of impeachment. So far, Rep. Barbara Lee has supported H. Res 257, but Reps. Mark DeSaulnier and Eric Swalwell have not yet cosponsored either resolution. 

What to say:

If your Representative is Barbara Lee:

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I want the House to begin a formal impeachment inquiry, so I thank Rep. Lee for cosponsoring House Resolution 257. I’m also asking her to please urge her colleagues to follow her lead in support of impeachment.

If your Representative is Mark DeSaulnier or Eric Swalwell:

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I want to thank Rep. ___ for speaking out in favor of an impeachment inquiry. I want the House to begin a formal impeachment inquiry, and urge him to please cosponsor House Resolutions 257 and/or 396.

  • Rep. Mark DeSaulnier: (email); (510) 620-1000 • DC: (202) 225-2095
  • Rep. Barbara Lee: (email); (510) 763-0370 • DC: (202) 225-2661
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell: (email); (510) 370-3322 • DC: (202) 225-5065

What else you can do:

  • Read the letter written by Free Speech for People, and cosigned by a broad coalition of groups (including Indivisible) to the House Judiciary Committee. The letter raises concerns about and makes recommendations regarding the Committee’s timeline, scope, and public strategy for the impeachment inquiry.
  • Attend town halls your Members of Congress schedule, and other public events at which they appear. Ask a question about impeachment, and ask them to cosponsor House Resolutions 257 and/or 396.
  • Sign up for, or organize, constituent meetings with your MoCs, assisted by national coordination from By the People.
  • Join the discussion on the #impeachment channel on Indivisible East Bay’s Slack. For an invitation to join Slack, email info@IndivisibleEB.org
  • Call on the presidential candidates to speak out about impeachment. See our list of links to all of the candidates’ websites and social media accounts, in this article
  • Talk to your friends and relatives about impeachment. Not sure what to say? Get up to speed by reading our earlier articles, with background and more actions you can take on impeachment, investigations, and the Mueller Report:

Larry B contributed to this article

Photo “Bald eagle flying” by Skeeze

 

Oh SNAP – yes, again

Deadline: September 23 –

On July 24, 2019, the administration announced plans to disqualify three million Americans from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP, informally known as food stamps) by taking away states’ ability to expand eligibility rules beyond Federal limits. SNAP is a crucial form of anti-poverty assistance here in California. The proposed rule change would disqualify millions of low-income recipients, and would worsen food security in the U.S., according to the USDA’s own analysis.

In this case, because the action is considered a rule change and not a law, we get to comment directly on the proposed change. The Food Research and Action Center has put together an easy form to submit comments on the rule. You can also comment directly on the Federal Register, but their website is difficult to use. Make sure to leave a comment by Monday, September 23. 

Here are some sample points you can mention, but be sure to use your own words and personalize your comments with why the SNAP program is important to your or your community, to make sure that each comment gets counted separately.

  • Cutting SNAP benefits takes food directly off of the tables of poor Americans
  • The USDA analysis found that the change would affect the food security and savings of Americans (More info here)
  • The current system supports working families who are just above the income limit for SNAP. Cutting this program discourages workers from taking a raise or increasing hours that would put them over the limit (More info here)
  • The proposed rule would require states to abide by an asset limit for eligibility,  which discourages families from saving money (More info here)
  • Making a rule change circumvents Congress, which has repeatedly rejected cuts to SNAP on a bipartisan basis (More info here)

For more background read our prior articles about SNAP:

Team IEB at the Port of Oakland

On July 25, a group of Indivisible East Bay members attended the Port of Oakland Board of Commissioners meeting to present concerns about Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportations at Oakland Airport. IEB attended in support of Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA) and Centro Legal de la Raza, and were joined by East Bay Alliance for Sustainable Economy (EBASE). Before the proceedings began, IEB Governance Committee member Ted Lam was interviewed by KTVU’s Alyana Gomez, and Lourdes Martinez from MUA and Amelia Cass from IEB shared their questions about how Oakland as a sanctuary city could support deportations. 

Six of the speakers present addressed the Port of Oakland’s relationship with ICE: Ted requested a response from the Port about how deportation flights could have been authorized and who signed the contract, and Amelia followed up with a recommendation to bring in community groups who could advise on how to move forward. Ms. Martinez and Rosario Cruz from MUA described how ICE has terrorized the community they serve and asked the Port to renegotiate contracts to ensure they align with Oakland’s sanctuary city values. Divya Sundar from EBASE also reiterated the need for the Port to honor the sanctuary commitment. 

In response to the public comments, the Port’s Director Danny Wan stated that as an immigrant himself, he understands the concerns of the community. The Port had begun investigating the situation three days prior, when they were first made aware of the deportations. Wan said that “Port employees have not participated in or actively aided deportations” and that the Port is looking into “how and why the flights are taking place.” At the close, another Port commissioner stated that the item might be placed on the agenda for open discussion at a future meeting. IEB was able to submit both our formal statement and that of Centro Legal to be entered into the record.

The next Port of Oakland meeting is scheduled for September 12, 2019. As new developments arise, we will keep you informed of possible actions as we continue to support our partners who are experts in the field.

Photo by Ted Lam

Ted Lam, Paula Schmidlen and Fiona Woods contributed to this article.

 

 

Debates, round two: what did you think?

Deadline: sooner is better than later – What did you think of the second round of debates? Who tackled the issues head-on and who ducked? Who said what you wanted to hear and whose ideas came up short? Who do you think should drop out now?

What you can do:

Tell the candidates your opinions. If we want the best possible candidates, we need to tell them – and keep telling them – what we want, including what we like and what we don’t like in what we’re hearing from them.

To refresh your recollection, here are the candidates who debated each night, in alphabetical order:

  • Night 1, Tuesday, July 30: Steve Bullock, Pete Buttigieg, John Delaney, Amy Klobuchar, John Hickenlooper, Beto O’Rourke, Tim Ryan, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Marianne Williamson
  • Night 2, Wednesday, July 31: Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Bill de Blasio, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Jay Inslee, Andrew Yang

We’ve made it easy for you to contact the candidates. Click on their names in the alphabetical list below to get to their campaign websites, which have ways you can contact them. Or contact them on Facebook or twitter. Tell your friends to speak up, too.

And leave a comment on this article to let US know what you think!

Fantastic, and not-so-fantastic, candidates, and where to find them (candidates’ names are links to their campaign websites):

Photo of July 30 debate watch party by IEB Governance Committee member Linh Nguyen

IEB 7/16/19 Meeting with Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, AD-15

Meeting with Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, AD-15, on July 16, 2019

PRESENT: Buffy Wicks; Senior Field Representative Uche Uwahemu; one additional staff person and three interns; five IEB members.

This was Indivisible East Bay’s first solo meeting with Assemblymember Wicks, following our May 10, 2019 meeting with her and Asm. Rob Bonta. We gave Wicks and her staff our pre-meeting memo and our list of IEB Priority Bills (many of which are also bills of priority interest statewide). By now bills initiated in one chamber of the Legislature have passed to the other chamber, where they must pass by mid-September, so these were the bills we focused on. With a few exceptions, we did not cover other bills that have died, that have not been included in the Governor’s budget, or that have become two-year bills and will roll over into next year.

ELECTIONS / VOTING RIGHTS:

A unifying theme of our selection of voting rights bills is supporting the major goals of the federal bill H.R.1, the For the People Act: expanding voting rights, campaign finance reform, and strengthening the government’s ethics laws. H.R.1 is an omnibus bill because the most effective changes work in tandem to complement each other. Wicks stated that she cares about voter rights and supports a variety of approaches. She was open to the idea of an omnibus bill and even suggested that she might look at authoring such a bill next session. We also discussed:

  • ACA 6, which expands voting rights to people on parole to re-enfranchise over 50,000 Californians. IEB is working with the community co-sponsors of ACA 6, including Initiate Justice, All of Us or None, and our community partner Open Gate. This is now a two-year bill. It still needs to be voted on in this Assembly this year, but will not reach the Senate until next year. Because it is a constitutional amendment it will require a two-thirds vote to pass. We asked Wicks to become a co-author, and she said she would be happy to.
  • We thanked Wicks for supporting AB 1217, which requires issue advertisements to disclose the top three funders. The bill is now in the Senate. SB 47 is another important bill for transparency, requiring ballot initiative signature gatherers to disclose the top three funders. We asked her to become a co-author. 

CRIMINAL JUSTICE:

  • Wicks supported AB 32, which prohibits the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from entering into or renewing contracts with private for-profit prisons. The bill, which is now in the Senate, has a long list of community co-sponsors, including California StateStrong; and one opponent, the CA State Sheriffs’ Association.
  • Wicks supported AB 1185, establishing a sheriff oversight board, on the Assembly floor (the bill is now in the Senate). However, more needs to be done in this arena – right now, there is no term limit on sheriffs. In response to IEB’s asking if she would consider introducing a constitutional amendment to switch from elected to appointed sheriffs or introducing a bill allowing counties to set term limits for sheriffs and district attorneys, Wicks responded that she is interested in an approach that would change the requirement that a person have a law-enforcement background in order to run for sheriff. She told us that either she or Sen. Nancy Skinner will author a bill to do that. 

STATE BUDGET:

  • Wicks joined us in being glad that Medi-Cal was expanded to include some undocumented immigrants (SB 29), but disappointed that it didn’t include seniors because of stated budgetary concerns.
  • Likewise, we were disappointed that the budget did not expand the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) program to include holders of Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, though we’re glad the income threshold was expanded.

IMMIGRATION/LOCAL COOPERATION WITH ICE:

  • Just before the meeting, we learned that Oakland Airport has been one of the top airports used by ICE in California. Wicks said she had also been unaware of this. When we asked if she had any thoughts on what might be done to end that cooperation, she said that the Governor has a broader ability to do things and we may need to get to him.
  • Since our meeting, IEB testified at the Port of Oakland commissioners meeting on July 25. In response, the Port said in the coming weeks, they are committed to developing recommendations and a definitive response to the events that occurred. 

ENVIRONMENT:

  • Wicks agreed with AB 1276, a state-specific “Green New Deal” aimed at addressing the climate crisis in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, technology and infrastructure, as well as economics, education, and civil rights. She specifically supported resilient infrastructure with AB 1698 (infrastructure investment and financing).
  • SB 200, which Wicks voted for, establishes a fund to secure access to safe drinking water. It was signed into law by the governor on July 24th.

EDUCATION:

  • Wicks co-authored SB 37 with Sen. Nancy Skinner to increase the tax rate on large corporations in order to fund child care, public schools and higher education. Though it didn’t pass the Senate, she emphasized that the need for it remains. She supports Prop. 13 reform (the Schools and Communities First initiative will be on the ballot in 2020) but noted that it only provides $11 billion towards the $50 billion she believes is required to fund schools.
  • Wicks voted in support of bills that reformed how charter schools are formed and operated: AB 1505, which passed both houses of the Legislature; AB 1506, which did not; and SB 126, which has already been signed into law. She stated that she believes there are good charter schools but that more accountability is needed.

HOUSING:

Housing is a major focus of Wicks’ legislative interest. She stated that we need 3.5 million units of housing at all income levels and at higher density levels and noted the need for housing at moderate income levels, where costs are too high but people do not qualify for assistance. She is a co-author of:

  • AB 724, which was intended to create a registry of rental properties (though it did not pass the Assembly).
  • AB 1482, which would prohibit rent gouging and eviction without just cause.
  • SB 50, which provides incentives for streamlining approval of housing development.

POVERTY:

We didn’t discuss poverty with Wicks because she is already very strong on the issue. We had several priority bills on issues of poverty and hunger, and she has either authored or voted for all of them:

FUTURE WORK:

Wicks asked that we stay in touch going forward. She is developing bills for next year’s session that she would like our feedback on and support with, touching on a number of topics, including housing, hunger, privacy concerns, and reproductive rights.

By IEB Governance Committee members Toni Henle and Ion Y

Toni Henle is retired after a career in policy work at non-profits focused on workforce development. She is a member of the IEB Governance Committee, co-lead of Outreach to Organizations and a member of the Indivisible CA-11 team.

and furthermore … Debates, round two

Deadline: through July 31, and after – Ah, those good old innocent days of the first Democratic Presidential debates, before part of our country was telling another part to go back where they came from. But seriously folks, a few things have changed since the first set of debates, so we’ve updated our Primary Primer for you. Whether you have a favorite candidate or not, check out where the candidates stand on the big issues, and get in touch with the candidates if you want them to say more or if you don’t like what they’re saying. This is the time for us to make our voices heard, while everything is still up in the air.

What you can do:

Let’s call (or email, or tweet, or your platform of choice) the candidates on it:

Step one: Check out their positions.

Politico has this guide to the issues, searchable by candidate, issue or category. (Caveat: the site says it’s current as of July 17, but it still lists Eric Swalwell, who bowed out on July 8). You can also check the candidates’ websites to see what they say about your key issues. Scroll down to the end of this article for links to all of the candidates’ websites and social media. A tip: the easier an issue is to find on a candidate’s site, and the more detail the site devotes to it, the more important that issue is to the candidate.

Step two: Tell the candidates what you think.

To say what we all know: Candidates have been known to change their positions based on pressure. Are you pleased with the priority they’re giving your top issues and what they’re saying? Thank them. Have they failed to address an issue? Demand that they address it, and tell them what you hope they’ll say. Have they taken a position you don’t like? Tell them. Especially tell the candidates if their position, or lack of a position, makes the difference between you supporting them, opposing them, or considering supporting someone else. After all, it’s all about getting your vote!

We’ve made it easy for you to contact the candidates. Click on their names in the list below to get to their campaign websites, which have ways you can contact them; we also list their campaigns’ facebook pages and twitter accounts. And try this cool tool from Indivisible National: you record a video telling the presidential candidates what you want to hear from the debate stage, and they’ll format and subtitle it and send you a link that you can spread by email and on your social media. Tell your friends to speak up, too!

Step three: Tune in: watch the debates.

The schedule for Round Two:

  • Night 1, Tuesday, July 30, 5 PM Pacific Time: Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Steve Bullock, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Tim Ryan, & Marianne Williamson
  • Night 2, Wednesday, July 31, 5 PM Pacific Time: Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Andrew Yang, Michael Bennet, Bill de Blasio, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, & Jay Inslee

Watch the debates with us! We’re co-hosting a Big Screen Democratic Debate Watch Party from 5 to 8 PM both nights at Spats in Berkeley, along with our friends from the East Bay Activist Alliance and Berkeley Democratic Club.

Or on the first night only, Tues. July 30, watch at Everett & Jones, Jack London Square, 126 Broadway, Oakland. This event is hosted by Oakland/East Bay Coordinated GOTV (Get Out the Vote) Team, and co-hosted by Swing Left, Commit to Flip Blue, and others.  Doors open at 4 PM. RSVP here but please note that RSVP’ing doesn’t guarantee you a seat. FREE.

Don’t want to go out? CNN is hosting the debates this time, and they’ll stream live on CNN.com, CNN apps for iOS and Android, and on the CNNgo apps for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, and Android TV. Invite friends over and have your own debate watch party! Here’s a great resource from Indy National.

Want to watch/re-watch all or part of the first set of debates? You can see the first night here and the second night here.

Fantastic, and not-so-fantastic, candidates, and where to find them (candidates’ names are links to their campaign websites):

Graphic, Lincoln – Douglas, by XKCD

There’s no ICE in SANCTUARY

Like most people in the East Bay, we in Indivisible East Bay were shocked to learn that Oakland Airport has been the site of thousands of deportations. Hidden in Plain Sight: ICE Air and the Machinery of Mass Deportation,” the extraordinary report by the University of Washington’s Center for Human Rights, reveals that almost 27,000 people were deported through Oakland Airport between 2010 and 2018. IEB spoke to the report’s authors in consultation with Centro Legal de la Raza and the Asian Law Caucus, and we learned that it gets even worse: 6,080 of those removals were potentially problematic. 313 of those deported still had pending immigration proceedings, 13 were removed despite having deferred action or some other benefit that should have blocked their deportation, and 5,754 of them underwent forms of deportation such as expedited removal, with no chance to appear before an immigration judge. And on July 22 2019, the White House expanded fast-track deportation regulations, meaning even more people nationwide will be deported without due process protections.

Both Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and the Port of Oakland, under whose jurisdiction the airport falls, have said that they had no prior knowledge that these flights were occurring. Mike Zampa, spokesperson for the Port of Oakland, issued the following statement:

The Port of Oakland and Oakland International Airport understand community concerns over this issue. We have been, and will remain in compliance with sanctuary city laws. No Port or Airport employees were part of any immigration investigation, detention or arrest procedures in connection with possible immigration law violations.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement claims that the deportation flights out of Oakland stopped in October 2018, but there is no guarantee that they will not resume in the future. And while the Port states that they are in compliance with Oakland’s sanctuary city laws, it is unclear what that means – or what changes they will make in the future to “strengthen (their) commitment to the sanctuary city policy,” as Mayor Schaaf reported. To further complicate matters, while the members of the Port of Oakland Board of Commissioners are appointed by the mayor of Oakland, and the Port maintains it’s a public agency and steward of public assets, it is not clear how the Board holds itself accountable.

We have some ideas.

If you’re a resident of Oakland, call Mayor Libby Schaaf’s office at 510-238-3141 or email officeofthemayor@oaklandnet.com:

My name is ________, I’m a resident of Oakland and a member of Indivisible East Bay. I’m asking Mayor Schaaf to hold the Port of Oakland accountable in their response to the deportations that occurred at the Oakland Airport.  If the Port is truly committed to the sanctuary city policy, they should be transparent in how that is upheld and maintained.

In addition, IEB members are planning a presentation to the Port of Oakland itself, complete with a series of asks concerning public transparency, detailed information about the Port’s current and past relationship with ICE, and a request for an investigation into how the airport has handled past deportation flights, including any rights violations that may have occurred. We’ll keep you up to date!

Photo credit: Entrance to Oakland Airport BART Station, by Weegee010

Leading Lights for Liberty

On July 12, 2019, thousands of people in hundreds of cities across the country gathered to protest the inhumane conditions faced by migrants, as part of Lights for Liberty: A Nationwide Vigil to End Human Detention Camps. Indivisible East Bay proudly joined the wide coalition of groups presenting Lights for Liberty events, and IEB members joined other events where they lived.

Berkeley:

Along with Together We Will-Albany Berkeley and El Cerrito Progressives, IEB co-hosted a large protest on the University Avenue Pedestrian Bridge over I-80 in Berkeley. Here are a few great photographs by Wes Chang, of Pro Bono Photo; you won’t want to miss the rest of his amazing photos at this gallery.

 

Castro Valley:

Lights for liberty vigil, Castro Valley, photo by Andrea Lum
Lights for liberty vigil, Castro Valley, photo by Andrea Lum

The Castro Valley vigil took over all four corners of Redwood Road, with about 100 participants chanting, singing songs and making their voices heard. In addition to acknowledging the tragedy at the border, the event was combined with Transgender Visibility Night Members to raise awareness about human rights. Indivisible East Bay joined members of the Castro Valley Democratic Club, Eden Area Interfaith Council, and representatives from Rep. Swalwell’s office for an energetic and memorable event.

– by Andrea Lum

Richmond:

Many CA-11 team and other IEB members joined the large vigil at Richmond’s Civic Center, organized by former Richmond city council member Ada Recinos, the Latina Center, Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia’s office, and others. The crowd chanted, sang, and listened as speakers – including refugees and elected officials – decried the human rights violations by the administration, and called for everyone to resist and take action.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Photographs by Wes Chang, of Pro Bono Photo, and IEB members Andrea Lum and Heidi Rand

IEB Meeting with Sen. Harris staff June 2019

Meeting with Senator Kamala Harris’ staff, June 25, 2019
From Sen. Harris’ office: Daniel “Dino” Chen, Deputy State Director 

Read Indivisible East Bay’s pre-meeting memorandum

TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • Iran & the Middle East: We thanked Senator Harris for cosponsoring the Protection Against Unconstitutional War on Iran Act and demanding the status of mobilizing troops for war from the Administration. Dino said he’d check with the DC team regarding the Senator’s position on nuclear force
  • National Defense Authorization Act: we thanked the Senator for voting no. Dino will get back to us regarding the Senator’s position on the Udall-Paul Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to prevent illegal military action in Iran. (As of publication, Sen. Harris voted for the amendment, according to Senate records)
  • Migrant Detention Centers: Advocates expressed concern regarding lack of Congressional oversight of federal detention centers, especially private ones. Dino indicated that the Senator was a leader in a rapid response network to provide legal counsel to detainees and that her “number one priority” right now is addressing the immigration crisis. He’ll get an answer for us on our request for a commitment from the Senator to vote NO on any emergency response bill that does not specifically address migrant youth. He’ll also find out if there is still Congressional oversight if migrants are transferred to Fort Sill, OK.
  • Election Security: We discussed the $600 million appropriation in the House to enhance election security that Senate leadership is unwilling to take up.
  • American Family Act: We thanked the Senator for cosponsoring
  • Impeachment: Dino indicated that the Senator would support opening impeachment proceedings. He did not commit to whether or not the Senator would ask Speaker Pelosi to start these proceedings.
  • Census: Sen. Harris agrees with us about the importance of building trust in under-represented communities and ensuring we are set up for a complete count in the 2020 census.  Dino recommended that advocates connect with their local Complete Count Committee to support these efforts.
  • Public Appearances by Senator Harris: We expressed concern about the Senator’s lack of presence in the community in her official capacity, and asked that her team consider organizing periodic town halls/forums to help her connect with constituents. Dino said they’re trying their hardest to get her to the Bay Area but it’s hard because they aren’t allowed to coordinate with the campaign, who obviously want her in key primary states.  She is, however, almost confirmed to attend the Lake Tahoe Summit.
  • Healthcare: Dino indicated that next month’s focus will be on health care, and they’ll be doing some story banking on that subject.

 

– By IEB member Zach