On March 19th, 2018, another devastating and inconceivable act was passed: the city of Los Alamitos just chose to withdraw from the California Sanctuary Law. After a 4-1 vote in the City Council and strong encouragement from the mayor, the hate-based legislation was passed. It’s important to understand the significance of the Sanctuary Law in the state itself; not only does it provide a foundation for immigrants’ rights, but it also presents numerous guaranteed safeties to those living in California.
The bill essentially blocks local and state authorities from detaining and potentially holding illegal immigrants in federal charge with no warrant, while also barring the state from requesting or sharing the immigration status of any said person. Fundamentally, the act hinders the federal immigration authorities from intervening in local matters concerning illegal immigrants. Hence labeling California a “sanctuary state.” Other states following this status include Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, and Vermont.
The law itself is of immense importance because it paves way for a safe space in which immigrants are able to live without constant worry of deportation. The federal powers are known to be extremely violent and despicable when it comes to immigration, and thus legislation is necessary in order to halt their brutality and hopefully, one day, abolish the ICE all together (as it only serves as a source of blatant cruelty). The ACLU is threatening a lawsuit in response to the act in hopes of reversing it.
In times like these, it becomes crucial that we stand with immigrants and try to help in any way possible. Something as little as staying updated on social media promotes opportunities in which you can get involved. One account that is a source of numerous different news updates concerning immigrants’ rights is @Undocumedia.
The Instagram activist based page posts three to four times a day and gives its followers the chance to stay involved in local politics by informing them of any past legislation, future protests, or recent occurrences of injustice. The page itself stands as a platform for young activism while also acting as a safe space for those who are facing social injustice. I myself found out about Los Alamitos opting out of the sanctuary law through this account. Other accounts that help me keep me up to date on social justice issues worldwide are @powerful.poc, @feministastic, @itsfeminism, and @intersectional.femme (these are only a few; there are thousands of pages that promote immigrants’ rights while updating followers on social justice issues).
Even writing this article, I am not able to control the overwhelming emotions that consume me at this very moment. I am at loss for words for this country’s treatment of immigrants. The Trump administration continues to inspire pure hatred and bigotry. Through the tears we shed, we must take the grief and turn it into action. Go to your local protest, research candidates for upcoming elections, console anyone who is affected by this system, and go out and vote! Do not underestimate the power of the youth. It is never too early, nor too late, to aid in the movement. We are better than this; we can fight this. As human beings, we must help and advocate for the rights of those whose voices have been taken from them through an oppressive state. The time is now.
Photo: SAUL LOEB / AFP / Getty