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    Fighting to Keep Oakland a Sanctuary City

    By Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland City Councilmember At-Large–

    In August 2017, the Oakland Police Department knowingly assisted with an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid in West Oakland. OPD’s participation contradicts the fact that Oakland is a Sanctuary City, and that on July 18, 2017, the full City Council unanimously voted for my legislation calling for the City to “immediately” cut ties with ICE.

    As we discuss collusion with inappropriate behavior by ICE in our city, I wanted to share some information about their recent behavior. First, to make clear, I am not suggesting that we not act when we have evidence of a real crime—regardless of the nationality of the person involved. We should use our law enforcement resources to prevent and respond to violence and serious crime, no matter who commits it.  

    It has become clear, however, that ICE is now intentionally targeting non-criminals, and is acting to strike fear into communities based on their ethnicity and national origin, and has become an arm of Trump’s racist agenda. Sending our officers to assist ICE takes them away from fighting violent crime in our community.

    Furthermore, the actions of ICE, including deportation actions at schools, hospitals, and courthouses, threaten the integrity of families and of our vital public institutions. When victims and witnesses of crimes are afraid to come forward, it makes all of us less safe, and undermines the effectiveness of our police department.

    Oakland provided police for an ICE action that resulted in someone not accused of crimes facing deportation. A family was torn apart and made to suffer. When something similar took place in Santa Cruz, local leaders acknowledged they had been fooled by ICE, and that they would not let it happen again.  

    The Oakland Administration should not be fooled twice—neither by allowing our police to participate, nor by providing false statements to the press for ICE. As it says in Exodus 23:9, “Do not oppress the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

    For live updates, please follow Councilmember Kaplan on Twitter: Kaplan4Oakland

    Councilmember At-Large Rebecca Kaplan was elected in 2008 to serve as Oakland’s citywide Councilmember; she was re-elected in 2016. She also serves on the Board of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), and as the Chair of the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC).