SACRAMENTO, CA — Chants like this echoed in front of the CA state capitol Monday morning as part of the celebration of the 21st annual Immigrant Day.
Immigrants from up and down the state gathered in Sacramento to send their message of resistance.
The people took the energy from the rally held in front of the Capitol inside — as they visited numerous legislators to gain support of three proposals to protect the immigrant community.
“It is really an opportunity to celebrate the profound economic and social contributions of immigrants, and at the same time communicate to our law makers how we want them to work with us to continue to make California better,” said Cynthia Buiza, Exec. Dir. of the CA Immigrant Policy Center.
The investing in immigrant families budget package SB 54 — or the California Values Act — aims to limit local and state law enforcement in deportations, and keep public areas like schools, hospitals, and courthouses safe and accessible for all.
SB 29 — the Dignity Not Detention act — looks to improve the treatment of immigrants in detention centers.
The Investing in Immigrant Families Budget package looks to protect those who need legal representation.
“It’s actually nearly 70 percent in the Los Angeles area who doesn’t have lawyers and are still detained and due for deportation process,” said Terry Villasenor of the Pilipino Workers Center. “They weren’t treated right. They weren’t treated like human beings.”
However according to a 2016 study by the California Coalition for Universal Representation, nearly 70 percent of detained immigrants in the entire state go unrepresented in their deportation cases, because they can’t afford to hire a lawyer. And those who do succeed in their cases more than five times as often as those who don’t.
Advocates say that because of the progressive elected officials in California, they feel confident in the passage of these proposals.
“We are lucky because we have a legislature that understands that good immigration policy can lead to good politics,” said Buiza.
Organizers hope that this day sends a message to all those who look down on the immigrant community.
“This is not who we are. The dark narrative that Donald Trump is painting about immigrants is not true, and we have to fight that narrative because we believe that we who helped build this state also gets to take part in it.”