By Faby Jacome
Santa Ana city council voted to create a modest $65,000 deportation defense fund on Wednesday night to help residents already in deportation proceedings. After many conversations with immigration attorneys and community organizations, the city also applied to receive an additional $100,00 from the Vera Foundation.
While the move towards "Universal Representation" is another victory for sanctuary SanTana, the 5-2 vote didn't come easy. During the first round of discussion, councilmen Jose Solorio, Juan Villegas and Mayor Miguel Pulido voted against the defense fund included in the city budget. Councilmen Vince Sarmiento and Sal Tinajero weren't ready to let the item die and motioned to restart discussions anew. After a half-hour, Mayor Pulido—yes the Don Papi himself, and himself an immigrant—came to his senses and finally decided to support the funding.
In a surprise to no one, Solorio—himself an immigrant—decided to vote against the policy that supports the undocumented community in SanTana. Most immigrant detainees don't have access to legal assistance, and those who do stand a significantly better chance of winning deportation relief. (And when Solorio's to the right of Pulido on immigration issues, it's really time for him to grow that bigote back and regain his lost moral compass!) Activists first dubbed Solorio "Latino Trump" after he explored every possible way to revive the city’s jail contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Not knowing when to stop, Solorio brings up his opposition to the contract that expired last May every chance he gets.
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This time around, Solorio's proposal for Universal Representation was to create an ad hoc committee to gather more information on how other cities are approaching the issue before bringing it back for a vote. But he had all the information needed to make an informed vote. Community members and lawyers were willing to sit with him to explain the proposal and what the allocated funds would help achieve.
Clean-shaven Solorio, here's a message for you: As Orange County Immigrant Youth United's deportation defense organizer for the last two years, an organization that helped work on Universal Representation, it's time to put your pettiness aside and support the community you merely make political tokens of. Grassroots organizations in OC are done with the DREAMer narrative and pitting "good" and "bad" immigrants against each other. We wish we could say the same for you. We need more than a politician that is willing to stand with the immigrants that are "deserving" and instead stand with the community as a whole.
Activists didn't slap your face on a Trump piñata on May Day to hurt your feelings, but because you have fought us every step of the way. Support us and if you have questions, be open to speak to us. We won a small battle this week as a community, but we are not done yet. We have more money to raise and more community members to help.
We hope that you'll learn from this experience and get on the right side of history. We hope that you'll stop turning your back on the same community you use for political gains. Do that, and we'll stop labeling you "Latino Trump." We might even start calling you "Sanctuary Solorio." Maybe.