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    Resist for Immigrant Rights

    philtingBy Assemblymember Phil Ting

    Last month, the president issued an executive order targeting undocumented immigrants for deportation. Since then, we have seen the federal government raid homes and workplaces across the country.

    This is just the beginning. While Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) claims these recent raids are business as usual and only target those with criminal records, many of those arrested haven’t been convicted in a criminal court.

    Anxiety and despair grip our communities as families are torn apart, children cry for their parents, and people retreat to the shadows for fear of being deported.

    California is home to nearly 2.7 million undocumented people. They are a vital part of our cultural and economic landscape. Our largest cities, especially in the Bay Area, are sanctuary cities—including San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, Richmond and San Jose.

    California has emerged as the center of the Trump Resistance, starting with our fight for immigrant rights. In the state budget, we will fund legal services for immigrants. We are also working on legislation to protect immigrants:

    • AB 3, by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), would create regional centers that train attorneys on immigration laws;
    • SB 6, by Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), would expand a state program to fund legal representation for people facing deportation proceedings;
    • SB 29, by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), would prohibit local government from contracting with private companies to detain undocumented immigrants;
    • SB 54, by Senator Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), would make California a sanctuary state by preventing state and local law enforcement from assisting ICE in deporting undocumented Californians; and
    • AB 291, a measure by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) that I am co-authoring, would provide immigrant tenant rights for the undocumented.

    For many of us in the State Capitol, protecting immigrants is fiercely personal. My parents are immigrants who came to this country for a better life. Fighting for immigrant rights is good for California and all our communities.

    Consider this: California grows one-quarter of the country’s food and almost half of all produce and nuts, and we depend on the hard work of immigrants—an estimated 70 to 80 percent of whom may be undocumented. Without them, food production would halt and the cost of produce would exponentially increase around the world.

    Letting fear, ignorance, and intolerance destroy communities, stall the economy, and rip apart families is unjust and shortsighted. History shows us that proceeding on this path isn’t one we should continue on.

    We’ve seen immigrants excluded and people being taken from their homes before. Many of us in the Asian Pacific Islander community see parallels between what’s happening today to the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 and Japanese American internment in the 1940s.

    Let’s not repeat the mistakes of the past. In order to move forward, we must build bridges, not walls, and protect those who make our country special.

    Phil Ting represents the 19th Assembly District, which includes the Westside of San Francisco along with the communities of Broadmoor, Colma and Daly City.