Protests Against Immigration Policies Held Statewide

Protesters across California called on the California Attorney General to take actions against harmful immigration policies.

Activists from the San Diego Dream Team and the Immigrant Youth Coalition protested what they called harmful and unfair actions taken by the California Attorney General Kamala Harris on an anti-deportation law.

Similar rallies took place Wednesday in Los Angeles and Oakland to address the lack of community confidence in state law enforcement agencies.

In San Diego, protesters rallied at the San Diego Central Jail before moving to 1st Street and to Harris' office. 

Members of the San Diego Dream Team and the Immigrant Youth Coalition helped organize the events and joined the rallies.

Part of the reason protesters gathered was because of what they called a lack of enforcement of the California Trust Act, a law that went into effect Jan. 1, 2014. Officers are not always allowed to call immigration officials when dealing with undocumented immigrants. The act allows those immigrants to come forward if they are a victim or witness of a crime without fear of deportation. These guidelines change if the undocumented immigrants has a criminal pass but still given due process.

The law decreased immigration “holds” in California, which in turn decreased deportations of undocumented immigrants. The law also provided expanded protections for undocumented immigrants.

Protesters claim law enforcement officers have violated the state law instead of implementing it.

Harris' Press Secretary Kristin Ford released a response Wednesday afternoon, saying the attorney general "strongly supports the Trust Act and has consistently worked to protect and defend California's immigrant communities."

However, five people from the group rallying outside San Diego went inside the regional office to ask for more from her team.

Activists such as the ones marching across the state want Harris to reinforce the law’s implementation and want to denounce the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s human rights violations, they said. The groups want the Attorney General to ensure officials are complying with the act.

Harris does not have the authority to end ICE detainers, Ford said. She pointed to a bulletin from Harris to law enforcement, which let them know fulfilling ICE detainers is voluntary and could open them up to legal responsibilities.

According to Ford, senior DOJ staff have set meetings with San Diego activists to hear their concerns.

The San Diego Dream Team is an organization that works on promoting a future where immigrants are treated fairly, equally and with dignity. The Immigrant Youth Coalition is a grass roots organization that fights against deportations and for immigrant rights, led by undocumented youth and immigrants.

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