CONTACT (see below for scripts):
Rep. Jacqui Irwin (concerning SB 54):
(916) 319-2044 (Sacramento)
(805) 482-1904 (Camarillo)
(805) 483-4488 (Oxnard)
Department of Homeland Security Comment Line (concerning Juan Manuel Montes):
Recent days and weeks have brought news that's alternately distressing and hopeful on the topic of immigration policy, at both the federal and state levels. The latest cause for alarm arose on Tuesday of this week, when attorneys for a 23-year-old "dreamer" named Juan Manuel Montes filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit demanding that the government turn over information about Montes' deportation on February 17. Montes had been detained while walking to a taxi station in Calexico, CA; he wasn't carrying his identification as a beneficiary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Later that night, immigration officials walked him across the Mexican border and left him there.
Montes' story is the latest evidence that the Trump administration has cast aside previous assurances that dreamers and otherwise law-abiding U.S. residents would not be caught up in its immigration-enforcement efforts. The Trump cabinet official in charge of immigration policy is Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly. The National Immigration Law Center and the advocacy group United We Dream encourage us to contact DHS and demand Montes' return to the U.S. The DHS phone comment line is 202-282-8495, or you may add your name to a petition.
Hello! My name is _____________, and I am calling from __________, California. In February your department deported a "dreamer" named Juan Manuel Montes, taking him away from his home and family despite the fact that he was authorized to live and work in the U.S. through the DACA program. His attorneys have made repeated requests for information related to his removal, but your department has not yet explained the legal authority or process you used to deport him. Your actions do not reflect our American values of inclusion and equal opportunity. It’s time for your department to truthfully explain what happened to Juan. And it's time for you to allow Juan Manuel Montes to return to our country, and to his home and family.)
Montes, who was brought to the U.S. as a child and was employed as a farm laborer while pursuing a degree in welding, exemplifies the "dreamers" who for years have been able to expect protected status under DACA. The federal government, while disputing other elements of Montes' story (including the basic fact of his deportation on March 17), acknowledges that Montes' status as a DACA beneficiary was valid through 2018. However, he is now living with relatives in Mexico.
In the face of Trump's accelerating regime of ICE home and workplace raids, detention-center roundups, and (apparently) "show-your-papers" stops like the one suffered by Montes, the good news comes mostly from Sacramento. California's state legislature continues to push forward on measures that would prevent the use of state resources, from cops and jails to information technology, to assist Trump's enforcement regime (SB 54, the "California Values Act"); provide a legal defense fund for immigrants facing deportation (SB 6); and bar the state from contracting with (SB 30) or investing in (AB 946) companies that provide materials or services for the construction of Trump's border wall.
Indivisible: Conejo has encouraged our activists to contact our state legislators on all these measures during recent weeks. However, now that the California Values Act has passed the State Senate and awaits action in the Assembly, our focus rests squarely on assembly member Jacqui Irwin. She is one of the key swing votes on the measure, and apparently she is torn between her large Hispanic constituency (particularly in the western part of Ventura County) and her perception of the views of white constituents in the eastern part of her district. (She is also being pulled toward opposing the bill by her collegiality with Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean, who has not been swayed by amendments to the bill that allow advance notification to immigration authorities when violent criminals are about to be released from prison.)
Indivisible: Conejo activists need to show Assemblywoman Irwin that there is strong sentiment in favor of the California Values Act in the East County, and that support for the measure is not limited to Hispanics. Today, and repeatedly over the next month, we will encourage you to contact Irwin and urge her to support SB 54.
Hello! My name is _______, and I am a constituent of Assemblywoman Irwin's in ____________, California. I'm calling to urge her/him to support S.B. 54, the California Values Act. Immigrants are our friends and neighbors, and contribute an enormous amount to our local economy. It's time we prioritize the safety and security of our fellow Californians, not those who wish to round up and deport law-abiding immigrants and separate parents from their children. Our local and state law enforcement officials should not be deputized, and no state resources should be used, to enforce the draconian policies of the Trump administration. The assembly should send a message that we won't him betray our values of embracing diversity and respecting our neighbors just because current federal policy does. Thank you!)