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    Responding to the Federal Immigration Chief’s Threats Against All of Us

    By Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland City Councilmember At-Large–

    As Oakland’s Citywide Elected Councilmember, and the author of Oakland’s City Resolution calling for the Administration to cut ties between OPD and ICE, I’m denouncing Federal Immigration Chief Thomas Homan’s recent threats to harass people in California and sanctuary cities.  

    Homan is now threatening to go after both immigrants and those of us public officials who speak up to protect human rights. Let me make this clear—if you are coming for my neighbor, you are coming for me. I won’t back down in my solidarity in the face of these threats. 

    Homan is threatening the safety of the public, directing that more ICE agents enter California communities, arrest people in public spaces, and target people based on national origin rather than focusing on serious crimes. This behavior is entirely inappropriate for someone running a law enforcement agency, as it perpetuates racial prejudice, and weakens the community-police relations that are vital to stopping serious crime. 

    I continue to stand opposed to such actions, and will continue to denounce, and refuse to collude in, Trump’s racist agenda. I call upon the Oakland Administration to ensure that there will be no further collusion with ICE, and to retract their prior statements in support of the conduct of ICE in our community.

    I and others have urged that at times where our most vulnerable neighbors and community members are at risk of being torn from their families, and in some cases, taken from the only country they’ve known, the city must stand in solidarity in support of all of our community, and refuse to participate in Trump’s misuse of federal law enforcement for prejudiced and political purposes. 

    As an active supporter of Oakland’s Sanctuary City status, I authored legislation last July calling for the Oakland Police Department to immediately cut ties with ICE; the full City Council unanimously voted and passed the legislation. In August 2017, however, the Oakland Police Department and City Administration authorized assisting ICE agents who were conducting a raid in West Oakland. This led to the detention of someone who is not being charged with a crime, and is now facing deportation.

    There has been extensive community outcry about the West Oakland raid, and the inappropriate use of OPD to assist in it. As a result, the City of Oakland Public Safety Committee heard a report and Resolution on January 9, and voted to clarify that OPD will not collude with ICE in such actions, even in providing traffic support.

    It is not acceptable for the Oakland administration to collude with ICE, as this Federal agency is targeting non-criminals, harassing people based on their national origin, and undermining our justice system. The head of ICE under Trump has publicly stated that his intention is to strike fear into communities, and now he is targeting California and cities like Oakland. 

    The actions of ICE worsen community-police relations, and make everyone less safe, by causing victims and witnesses of crime to be afraid to come forward. Oakland should not be colluding in the Trump Administration’s racist agenda by defending the actions of ICE, otherwise the Oakland Administration is undermining the trust of our community. That is why I, and others, have called for an end to all collaboration between OPD and ICE, including that providing “traffic support” is also an unacceptable misuse of Oakland taxpayer resources.

    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).