Throughout the Monterey Bay Area, the Inauguration of Donald Trump has become a call to action. This Saturday there will be Women’s Marches in Santa Cruz and on the campus of CSUMB to coincide with the National Women’s March. On Inauguration Day, rallies will be held in Santa Cruz, Monterey and Salinas. Here's a list.
I spoke with Jesus Valenzuela of the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council. The group represents unions and does community organizing. On Friday, they’ll be hosting a rally in Salinas called Hands Around Closter Park, Hands Off Salinas Valley.
Valenzuela says the point is not to send a message to Washington, but to the local officials -- specifically about protecting the undocumented immigrant community from the potential policies of a President Trump.
Jesus Valenzuela (JV): East Salinas is a region that we all know has a huge number of undocumented individuals. Now these are not just people who come by themselves and are working and sending money back home. The majority of these are family members. They’re fathers and mothers that have children born in the United States. So to think that that is a population vulnerable to deportation means that we have a population of young people that may end up growing up without parents.
KA: What do you think can happen on a local level to help alleviate that concern?
JV: So one of the things is while we applaud the passing of some resolutions in some cities saying that they will be a sanctuary city... for us that really is not enough. We really want a resolution passed with some kind of teeth in it. Something that can be implemented as a policy. So it goes a little bit beyond just symbolic marches, symbolic protests, symbolic resolutions. We are organizing for something concrete that will protect the people.
KA: What’s an example of something concrete?
JV: If the school board could pass a resolution with teeth, which would mean a resolution that says they will not collaborate with ICE. And that unless ICE has an order from the court, they cannot step on a school campus. You cannot come in here and access records unless you have an order from the court then that prevents a mass seizing of records. Because while we are not afraid that the kids at school are going to be deported, in those records are where their parents live as well. The other concrete policy is something local police can do and what they’ve done in Orange County is what they call a catch and release policy. So let’s say I’m undocumented. I get taken into jail. By the time I step into county jail, I’m under the jurisdiction of the sheriff. In Monterey County the sheriff is collaborating with ICE. But if say the Salinas Police Department catches me for doing something very minor as opposed to taking me in and booking, they cite me for a ticket and let me go. Well I would never come under the sheriff’s jurisdiction and therefore I am not deportable. So those are two of the policies that we are thinking about working towards.
KAZU did reach out to the Republican Party in both Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties. Neither has public events planned to mark the Inauguration.