California families started their undocumented caravan journey on Monday urging the passage of the TRUST Act. As it makes its way from San Diego to Sacramento, one of the planned stops includes the cities of SanTana and Orange.
“The TRUST act will limit collaboration between local law enforcement and ICE,” says Veronica Federovsky, West Coast Coordinator with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON). “Each city we are stopping at we are having an action to send that message.”
Arriving today, the caravan will team with local organizations for a #Not1More deportation march at 2:30 p.m. starting from the Santa Ana Police Department and ending at Theo Lacy County Jail. The facility in Orange was outed by a DC-based organization as one of the ten worst immigrant detention centers in the nation.
“We're organizing this week's action to highlight the human right violations at Theo Lacy jail and advocate for the passage of the TRUST Act,” says local immigrant youth activist Carlos Perea of RAIZ. The starting point of the Santa Ana Police Department is yet another front in immigration policy battles.
Perea's organization–which is an acronym for “Resistencia, Autonomia, Igualdad, Liderazgo” (Resistance, Autonomy, Equality, Leadership)–was part of this year's Orange County May Day Coalition's march in SanTana that took aim at the city's existing contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“That issue definitely connects with the caravan because we are trying to end local collaboration,” he adds. The terms of the agreement allows ICE to utilize Santa Ana City Jail for detention purposes at a rate of $82 per day for each detainee. The facility has operated at a deficit, but the federal-local agreement has provided a source of revenue.
Following the march, activists attended a meeting of the SanTana City Council in early May bringing their message and personal testimonies to public comments. “After that, we were able to get them to move the issue to the public safety committee,” Perea says. A meeting was held just last week for the body where councilman David Benavides serves as chair.
“What they are trying to do is move the issue to the police, but the city can author an ordinance terminating the contract and ICE hold requests.”
Back at the state level, the undocumented caravan has its sites set on arriving in Sacramento by July 2nd for a hearing on the TRUST Act by the Senate's own public safety committee. The bill passed through the Assembly in May no thanks, in part, to local Democrats who joined Republicans in not voting for it.
“After the hearing, we'll be holding a protest in front of Jerry Brown's office in the capitol,” Federovsky says of the Democrat Governor who vetoed the legislation last year.
“He met with ICE, the California Sheriff's Association, but he hasn't met with the victims of Secure Communities.”
Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @dpalabraz