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ICE Raids in Sonoma County – A National Threat Localized

Ever since his inauguration in 2017, president Donald Trump has routinely targeted innocent, hardworking undocumented immigrants in communities around the United States with ICE raids, arresting members of our communities and putting their families in danger. While Sonoma County’s sheriff does not cooperate with ICE, they can still sweep in unannounced at any time and start knocking on doors.

What can we do as a community, and what is already being done to protect our people from ICE raids?

In 2017, the North Bay Organizing Project launched the North Bay Rapid Response 24 hour hotline at (707) 800-4544, a hotline dedicated to providing legal assistance to immigrants in the North Bay and protecting our communities from ICE tyranny (Click here for their website). If you or someone you know believe(s) that ICE is in the area or have information about a potential raid, follow this procedure.

  1. Call the hotline at (707) 800-4544. When notified of a potential or current ICE raid, North Bay OP will send members of their 700-strong legal team to investigate the threat. If the threat is deemed credible, they will notify those who may be affected, send legal observers to hold ICE accountable and connect those arrested to immigration lawyers dedicated to stopping ICE, and make ICE’s presence known to everyone in the county. It is critical to call the aforementioned hotline, as it is the most effective way to make your voice heard
  2. If and ONLY IF the threat is confirmed as credible, make as much noise as possible. Post about the impending raid on social media, message friends who may be in danger, and encourage others to do so. If you see something, say something. ICE has repeatedly violated the rights of detainees simply because they could. When people are watching, filming, and gathering evidence, they must be held accountable.
  3. If targeted by ICE, KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!
  4. Assist with evacuation. ICE has been known to strategically target neighborhoods with large immigrant populations, often knocking on doors with a list of names and addresses. If you know someone in danger of being arrested, help get them and their family out of their home and to a safe location to hide from ICE during the raid. Raids are done en masse, and if a person is not home consistently they often will not be hunted down.

Together we can protect our community from Donald Trump’s racist, destructive agenda to make America white again.

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Impeachment and the Travel Ban – Impact on Sonoma County

On the 18th of December, 45th President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, was impeached by a vote in the House of Representatives. Contrary to popular belief, a president being impeached is NOT the same as them being removed from office. Donald Trump will face trial in the Senate, who will determine whether he is unfit enough to be removed from office. Since 2017, citizens of Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya have been banned from entering the United States. While the ban officially exempts those who are visiting immediate relatives as well as international students, large amounts of international students from Iran were recently denied boarding to their flights because their visas were cancelled. If Trump is removed from office, the travel ban will remain, and Mike Pence will most definitely uphold it. However, with the 2020 election coming up, it is up to us, the American people, to ask our democratic candidates the following question: Will you unconditionally repeal the un-American Muslim Ban?

Currently, congress is preparing a bill called the National Origin Based Anti-discrimination for Nonimmigrants Act, whose sponsors include candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Said act will prevent any type of nationality based refusal of entry to the US.

While the ban is aimed at Muslim majority nations, the impact of the ban can be felt in our own community here in Sonoma County. The county is home to a sizable population of Iranians, the group hit the hardest by the ban. Local resident Aida Dargahi helped her brother in law apply for a B-2 visa to visit her family in Petaluma in 2017, and he came very close to receiving his visa to travel to California. However, the travel ban hit the Tehran based engineer, who neither received a visa nor a refund of his $160, a significant sum for someone living in Iran. At Sonoma State University, a similar narrative exists. The electrical engineering department is run by Fareed Farahmand, an immigrant from Iran, and employs multiple hardworking Iranian professors who work hard every day to make this country a better, smarter place. Farahmand himself expressed his frustration at the travel ban, claiming that it has greatly reduced the arrival of Iranian international students, who are known for being hardworking scholars. My own father arrived in the United States in 1978 from Iran as an international student, completing high school and going on to graduate from San Francisco State University. He currently holds a PhD and works as a professor, educating and enlightening the youth of our county. Had there been a travel ban in place in 1978, he would not be here today, making a contribution to the society of the United States, a nation founded and advanced by immigrants.

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Compiling a list of CVA violators

With the current policy of the Trump administration, ICE is pressuring local sheriffs to provide information to ICE to support their attack on immigrants and their communities in the USA. In 2017, former governor of California Jerry Brown signed the California Values Act, intended to prevent local law enforcement from cooperating with ICE. Despite this, numerous sheriffs in northern and southern California are continuing to cooperate with ICE in defiance of California law. While the Sonoma County Sheriff doesn’t cooperate with ICE, neighboring Marin County passionately cooperates with ICE to oppress immigrant communities. At socoIMM, we believe that immigrants have the right to be safe in their homes and their communities, which is why we are actively working to create a list on our website where we document all the sheriffs departments that violate the CVA and cooperate with ICE. If you are aware of a local sheriff that cooperates with ICE, please contact us at socoimmigrants@gmail.com so we can list said county on our active list. Together we have the power to hold these violators accountable.

The following list is under construction and constantly being updated thanks to YOUR input!

Marin County Sheriff – http://iceoutofmarin.org/marin-sheriff/ (information about the sheriff’s countless violations of human rights, including but not limited to deporting immigrants based on charges and not convictions, separation of families, dismissal of allegations, and creation of a pipeline from jail to deportation)

Sheriff Robert T. Doyle
E rdoyle@marinsheriff.org

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Our Mission

Sonoma County has been and continues to be a county of immigrants. In today’s volatile political climate, the basic rights of immigrants are being violated. We believe that immigrants are a key part of our society and economy and we refuse to allow such injustices to continue. We believe that people outweigh politics and that protecting the human rights of immigrants should not be a partisan affair. We envision a future in which immigrants are celebrated for their invaluable presence in our society, and a future in which our undocumented peers no longer have to live in fear and hiding.