County Board Votes Unanimously to Plan Expanding Legal Representation Mass Deportation Victims
Santa Clara County, CA—On December 6th the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to direct Administration to come back with a plan to provide community outreach and legal representation to victims of mass deportation at its December 13 meeting. This is in response to community concerns about potential changes in deportation policies, given the incoming federal administration’s public and explicit support of mass deportations.
“We just want to make sure that everyone enjoys due process of law and has the basic right to be represented by counsel,” said Supervisor Cindy Chavez. “Because most of the people in Immigration Court have lived here for over ten years and have been separated from their families, we need to make sure that the Court gets it right.”
Reports of “notario fraud” and predatory business practices exploiting the fears of immigrants are on the rise. County staff and educators have already begun reporting a massive decline in student attendance, patients and clients not showing up for appointments or even picking up medication.
Mass deportation would result in the separation of many local families. This would require an immediate response by the County and non-profit agencies to assure child welfare and social services.
“The fear of mass deportation is making our community more dangerous, because people are afraid to engage with their local government and law enforcement authorities, including to report crime, domestic violence, and child abuse or neglect,” said Supervisor Cindy Chavez, one of the authors of the proposal.
The County Administration was directed to coordinate pro bono legal representation to ensure that the subjects of mass deportation receive due process of law.
In addition, the Office of Immigrant Relations was directed to partner with the City of San Jose and other interested municipalities and non-profits to develop a plan to ensure that immigrant individuals and families receive accurate and timely information about relevant immigration law, federal enforcement, local government response and available resources.
The Administration and County Counsel will return to the Board at its meeting of December 13 with a report detailing their assessment of resources required for both the community outreach and legal representation components of this program.