Asian Americans Advancing Justice - LA

Building upon the legacy of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center

San Gabriel City Leaders Terminate Agreement with ICE


Civil Rights and Advocacy Groups Celebrate Termination

San Gabriel, CA – Last night, by a vote of 3 to 2, the San Gabriel City Council rescinded a recently-signed agreement between the San Gabriel Police Department (SGPD) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The agreement had been the subject of growing concern, since it was first reported in the media on January 11, 2018. Over 100 people signed up to speak at the City Council meeting, with the vast majority opposing the MOU.

In voting to rescind the MOU, Council Member Jason Pu said that “the bottom line is that you just can’t trust ICE under this Administration.” He expressed concern about the agreement with ICE. “We are a city of immigrants and thrive because of our immigrant communities. Terminating the MOU was a win for the community and the right thing to do.”

“We thank Council Members Pu, Liao and Menchaca who voted to rescind the agreement,” said Nicole Ochi, supervising attorney at Asian American Advancing Justice-Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA). “In a state and region where many cities and elected leaders are backing away from entangling with ICE, we applaud the city of San Gabriel for making the moral and humane choice to maintain the trust of its diverse immigrant population.”

A broad coalition of community, advocacy, civil rights, and labor groups supported the termination of the MOU with ICE, including Advancing Justice-LA, ACLU, California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC), National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), National Immigration Law Center (NILC), Pomona Economic Opportunity Center (PEOC), SEIU, San Gabriel Valley-Immigrant Youth Coalition (SGV-IYC), LA Voice, and the ICE out of LA Coalition. Many of these groups spoke at the council meeting to express their deep concerns, including on legal grounds.

“The MOU likely violated California law, specifically the California Values Act, which is now in effect. It also sends a troubling message to the many immigrants who call San Gabriel home, as they deserve to be treated with dignity instead of being criminalized,” said Shiu-Ming Cheer, Senior Staff Attorney with NILC.

“More cities need to take the important, even if sometimes difficult, step to walk out of any existing cooperation with ICE,” said Emi MacLean, Staff Attorney at NDLON. “San Gabriel now joins other places in demonstrating that it is not only possible to ‘just say no to cooperation with ICE,’ but that it is a critical decision that will make the community more secure.”

With the future of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients uncertain, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) being terminated for hundreds of thousands of immigrants, and ICE engaged in regular, highly public sweeps to detain and deport immigrants, civil rights groups and immigrant advocates raised alarm and concern that the agreement with ICE would expose members of the San Gabriel community to increased risk of arrest, detention, and deportation. And while fighting human trafficking and fraud targeting immigrants were reasons cited for the MOU, advocates -- including those who fight trafficking and fraud -- expressed that the MOU would impede those goals.

“The city of San Gabriel is home to a large immigrant population, predominantly Asian (48.9 percent) and Latino (30.4 percent). Many non-citizens, regardless of legal status, fear ICE because of escalating detentions and deportations,” said Carlos Amador, Organizing Director of the California Immigrant Policy Center. “Local law enforcement entanglement with ICE contributes to community mistrust of their local police – fighting human trafficking and fraud does not need to engage Trump’s deportation machine.”


Randy Bunnao, 213-241-0227
About Advancing Justice - LA: 
Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles is the nation’s largest legal and civil rights organization for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (NHPI). Through direct services, impact litigation, policy advocacy, leadership development, and capacity building, Advancing Justice-LA focuses on the most vulnerable members of Asian American and NHPI communities while also building a strong voice for civil rights and social justice.
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
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