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Updated: Mar 1, 2022


September 18, 2020


  1. Jesus Chavez, Centro Legal de la Raza,

  2. Jesus Ruiz, Rapid Response Network in Santa Clara County,

  3. Teresa Borden, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA),

  4. Armando Carmona, Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice (IC4IJ),

  5. Abigail Salazar, San Francisco Rapid Response Network (SFRRN)


Video of ICE as “community protectors” on L.A. streets misses the reality of agents who kidnap protesters, hold children in hotels and run private detention centers. The California Rapid Response Networks affirm our commitment to protecting and supporting all immigrants in California. Please see our video.

CALIFORNIA — The Rapid Response Networks of California, below, condemn the cynical attempt by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to portray its illegitimate arrests of our neighbors as “protecting our community.” Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, these arrests plunge immigrant families into chaos.

These agents belong to the same Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that showed up without badges in Portland to grab Black Lives Matter protesters and throw them in unmarked vans . They are the same agency which the Los Angeles County sheriff rejected as a partner because its tactics made our region less safe. They are the same agents who run filthy private immigration detention centers where children are malnourished and cruelty is the norm. ICE is the same monstrous agency that is currently being investigated for forcibly performing hysterectomies on immigrants in detention centers. They are pushing the boundaries of their own cruelty. As the COVID-19 pandemic set in, these centers are now infection super-spreaders, possibly even exporting COVID-19 to other countries through deported victims.

This is how DHS & ICE seek to turn themselves into a paramilitary force at the beck and call of the thoroughly undemocratic Trump administration. And now they are trying to conduct a blue-washing campaign to look like protectors when they are really putting the entire country in danger.

We demand an end to immigration enforcement operations that put our immigrant community members and their families directly in harm’s way more than ever before now, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We demand that ICE stay out of our communities in California. And we assert that an attack against one of us in California, is an attack against all of us and we are prepared to fight for our immigrant communities here, no matter what.

As a reminder, we strongly encourage our immigrant community members to know their rights to be prepared against ICE enforcement. Please see this link for Know Your Rights videos in a variety of languages from the ACLU . Additionally, please see this link from the California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice (CCIJ) that includes the rapid response hotlines phone numbers for all the California rapid response networks (these hotlines are for EMERGENCY calls only).

Below are individual statements from the California Rapid Response Networks:

Los Angeles Rapid Response / CHIRLA : “This agency trying to portray itself as protecting our community while actually tearing it apart is the height of smirking cynicism. This is not policing, it’s bullying. As they continue to skirt due process, they are setting themselves up as an unaccountable, nationwide paramilitary force.

We need more, not less due process for immigrants and for everyone. We need more, not less accountability imposed on federal immigration enforcers. Immigrants for years have been feeling the blunt force of DHS. Giving it more authority in our communities harms our democracy. This image campaign is another lie from ICE, one of many that has victimized our neighbors, our families and our communities.”

San Diego Rapid Response Network: “ICE has already proven itself to be incapable of providing the proper care and treatment of the people it detains with the widespread outbreak of COVID-19 within the Otay Mesa Detention Center in April. These congregate environments are dangerous breeding grounds for infectious diseases without preventative measures in place to protect the health of detained persons or the community at large. We urge ICE to stop putting our community at risk with unnecessary immigration arrests.”

San Francisco Rapid Response Network: “ICE’s attempts to paint a narrative of being protectors has fallen short in comparison to their actions and history of committing numerous human right violations. We believe that our communities keep each other safe from the dehumanization and pain that ICE inflicts on our communities everyday. This is a call to action for people across the country, who believe in immigrant dignity and justice, to engage in community defense by calling their local rapid response hotline to report any ICE activity, because we keep each other safe.”

Emergency Response Network / IC4IJ: An agency that has broken car windows, stalked people on their way to work and parents taking their children to school, to separate families an arrest community members is not an agency that is protecting anyone’s safety. As we continue to witness the escalation of ICE’s forceful and egregious tactics and persecution of undocumented folks, Rapid Response Networks will not standby while these rogue entities terrorize and wreak havoc. We will continue to provide the necessary tools to defend and protect immigrant rights. The mediocre attempt by ICE to excuse their actions as security concerns fall short of pathetic. Our communities are building a world to thrive in without the ever presence of fear, and our collective strength will continue to empower us.

Signatories 1. Los Angeles Rapid Response Network / The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) 2. San Diego Rapid Response Network 3. Emergency Response Network / Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice 4. Long Beach Community Defense Network / The Long Beach Sanctuary Coalition 5. Orange County Rapid Response Network (OCRRN) 6. Centro Legal de la Raza 7. Faith in Action Bay Area, San Mateo Rapid Response Network 8. The Alameda County Immigration and Education Partnership (ACILEP) 9. North Bay Rapid Response Network: Napa, Solano and Sonoma Counties 10. Services, Immigrant Rights & Education Network (SIREN) 11. Rapid Response Network in Santa Clara County 12. San Francisco Rapid Response Network

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