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    Out of the Closet and into City Hall

    By Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland City Councilmember At-Large

    As Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) aggressively targets all undocumented immigrants, regardless of their criminal histories, I am happy to announce that Oakland City Council recently passed my Resolution ( terminating an agreement with ICE that allowed Oakland police officers to take part in task forces headed by ICE.

    Cutting ties with ICE is especially important under the Trump Administration, considering that in recent months, on average, ICE arrested 108 undocumented immigrants a day with no criminal record, an 150% increase from the previous year. ICE has arrested people without criminal records while they are dropping their kids off at school, coming out of church, on their way to senior prom, and even arrested a woman in court who was there to testify against the man who had raped her.

    Even John Sandweg, former ICE acting director, has expressed concern that by targeting non-criminals, ICE “is siphoning away resources that should go to the public safety threats.”

    The presence of ICE in Oakland was causing trauma in the community, and had a chilling effect on the reporting of crime. By terminating the Oakland Police Department’s agreement with ICE, I hope to encourage community trust and cooperation with local law enforcement.

    Last year, my colleagues and I reaffirmed the City of Oakland as a City of Refuge for immigrants, and stated our “desire to ensure that … immigrant residents participate in civic life and daily activities without fear of being arrested or reported to the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.” And this year, again, by passing my Resolution to cut ties with ICE, City Council affirmed the City of Oakland’s strong tradition of respecting the civil and human rights of all residents, regardless of their immigration status.

    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).