In the midst of immigration recent raids that swept the Bay Area, Contra Costa County launched a new hotline and rapid-response initiative to provide free, trustworthy information and legal support to immigrant families.
Called Stand Together Contra Costa, the initiative includes a 24-hour hotline, a new multi-lingual website, rapid response for local deportation activities, legal consultations and deportation defense services, and immigrant rights education and training.
The mission of Stand Together Contra Costa is to ensure that all people in Contra Costa County, regardless of citizenship or immigration status, are afforded the due-process rights established by the Constitution. The initiative is modeled after similar programs in most Bay Area counties.
The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors and local foundations are funding this public-private initiative. The Office of the Public Defender and a coalition of nonprofit organizations led by Catholic Charities of the East Bay are managing the program.
Immigrant families First 5-funded programs serve have expressed increasing fear and anxiety regarding misinformation, discrimination, and deportation threats they’ve experienced since the Trump Administration’s immigration crackdowns started last year. Just last week, a national survey of educators showed that these crackdowns are significantly harming children’s academic performance, attendance, and behavior.
Stand Together Contra Costa will allay some of these fears and support our Contra Costa neighbors and families. Please share this new resource widely.
Stand Together’s 24-hour, staffed hotline can be reached at (925) 900-5151, or visit standtogethercontracosta.org.
The Trump administration’s heartless decision to roll back DACA will harm children and families.
About a quarter of DACA recipients, 800,000 young adults whose parents brought them to the U.S. as children, live in California. Since 2012, DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, has provided recipients with work permits, the ability to go to college, and most important, protection from deportation.
These young Dreamers contribute to our schools, churches, cities, and communities. They’re our colleagues, neighbors, and friends. About 25% are parents to U.S. born children, and over half have U.S. citizen brothers or sisters.
The Trump administration has placed this successful program, and thousands of futures, in jeopardy.
The anxiety surrounding a family’s immigration status can be detrimental to the health and development of children. A recent study found that when parents received DACA status, it significantly improved their children’s mental health almost immediately. Simply put: children had less stress and anxiety when their parents no longer feared being deported.
The current administration’s immigration crackdown has eroded these gains for children. Reversing DACA will only exacerbate this.
All children deserve to have safe, secure childhoods. They should not live in fear that their parents or siblings will be taken away at any moment, or be further traumatized when a loved one is deported, leaving many in sudden poverty.
DACA is admittedly an imperfect, short-term solution to a much larger need for comprehensive immigration reform. But it is also the most compassionate path for “those who believe in their hearts and in their minds that they are American” as President Obama said when he created DACA in 2012. We hope our leaders will stand up for DACA so that all children are supported in safe, nurturing families and communities.
Sean Casey, Executive Director, First 5 Contra Costa
New immigration and deportation policies have many families worried, and agencies who provide services struggling to keep up. Here are some helpful resources to assist families during these turbulent times. Please note we will update this list periodically.
About the New Immigration Policies:
- Memo from Department of Homeland Security outlining new policies
- New ICE Raids – What Immigrants Need to Know (National Immigration Law Center)
Legal Rights and Resources:
- Know Your Rights (National Immigration Law Center) English and Spanish; sample know-your-rights cards in English and Spanish
- Know your rights, what to do if stopped by police, ICE raids, anti-Muslim discrimination, and more (ACLU)
- Find immigration law help
- Bay Area immigration resources EHSD, Catholic Charities
- CCISCO is starting a Rapid Response Network for people experiencing or at risk of deportation
- Ensuring Opportunity has a list of “Know Your Rights” workshops happening in Contra Costa County
Almost half of all kids in Contra Costa County have immigrant parents. As champions for the most vulnerable among us, we wholeheartedly refute policies that cause harm to immigrant families and our community.
Immigrants move to America to make better lives for themselves, and to contribute to our culture and community. That’s the American Dream. Or at least it always has been.
Today’s political climate – with its unsound Executive Orders and inhumane deportation policies – is putting more and more families in harm’s way, especially non-citizens, people of color, and Muslim Americans.
Immigration policies that break families apart threaten young children’s safety, stability, and development. Children should not live in constant fear their parents will be taken away at any moment. Children should not be further traumatized when a loving parent is deported or by policies that promote racial hatred.