Monday, April 14, 2008
11 AM @ LAPD Parker Center
150 N. Los Angeles Street, Los Angeles
Contact - Manuel Criollo
Immigrant and Civil Rights Organizations Urge Mayor Villaraigosa and LA City Council to Reject Councilmember Zine and Smith’s Motion to Dismantle Special Order 40
Los Angeles, CA. The Labor Community Strategy Center, the Mexican American Political Association and Hermandad Mexicana Lationamericana and other civil and immigrant rights organizations will hold a press conference in front of the LAPD headquarters at Parker Center to urge Mayor Villaraigosa and L.A. City Council to strongly reject Councilmember Zine and Smith’s motion to amend Special Order 40.
The “tough on crime” posture of many City leaders is fostering right wing anti-immigrant conservative forces in the region. It’s twisting the tragedy of violence in the streets and advancing policies that will weaken civil liberties and give LAPD carte blanche to racially profile Chicanos, Latinos, immigrants and young people of color.
Mayor Villaraigosa, L.A. City Council and Chief Bratton − Maintain and Expand Special Order 40. Make Los Angeles an Immigrant Sanctuary City! We want to recognize that many city leaders and the leadership of LAPD have been very vocal in their support to sustain Special Order 40, which is an important base line of unity. There is already troubling collaboration between ICE, LAPD, LASD, and the L.A. County District Attorney against suspected immigrant gang members and the communities they live in. While Mayor Villaraigosa’s March 27th letter to ICE concerning the negative impacts of workplace raids is an important statement, we strongly oppose any open ended invitation for ICE to crack down on so-called “immigrant criminals” as suggested by his letter. It has been well documented that during the mass “anti-immigrant crime” sweeps led by ICE in October of 2007, scores of people taken into custody were collateral arrest of immigrants innocent of any offense. We urge an unequivocal and sound rejection to the Zine/Smith motion, to assure all immigrants that they will not be targeted but protected inside the borders of the City of Los Angeles.
We Believe that Black and Brown Unity Must Be Built to Oppose the Growing Criminalization of Racialized Poverty and the Mass Incarceration of Black and Latino Communities – A Root Cause of the Violence in our Communities. We understand and empathize with the family of Jamil Shaw II, all life is precious and any loss of our young people is a tragedy. We believe that this type of violence is rooted in the accepted institutionalized racism, poverty and the growing criminalization that our communities and young people experience daily. One of the main culprits is the ballooning prison system that encourages racial antagonism between Black and Brown youth, as their number swell in segregated prison cells across the state. That tensions is tragically playing out in our streets and neighborhoods. The Zine/Smith amendment of Special Order 40 will unleash a heighten police presence and harassment of whole communities, an experience that both Blacks and Chicanos have known all but to well.
The gang database is the most racially subjective, secretive and punitive tool of local police enforcement. An open ended policy such as the Zine/Smith Motion which claims to target suspected “undocumented” gang members will have negative impacts on heavily populated immigrant and Latino neighborhoods. Policy experts have documented that the criteria local police agencies use to identify so-called gang members is highly subjective and racially driven. For example, in 2003 its been documented that approximately 47% of African American men in Los Angeles County between the age of 21 and 24 had been logged into Los Angeles County gang databases. The worst aspect of this process is its secretiveness – the vast majority of people logged into a gang database have no knowledge of their presence in the database.
We Want a 1,000 More Jobs, 1,000 Less Police! 1,000 More Librarians, 1,000 Less Police! 1,000 More Buses, 1,000 Less Police! From our perspective the growing anti-immigrant climate in the Country is closely related to the prioritization of police expansion and the over reliance on suppression and incarceration. The adaptation of these negative policies by the City of Los Angeles is reflected in the upcoming 2008-2009 budget discussions. We urge Mayor Villaraigosa and the LA City Council to support the reconstruction of the social safety net, help build healthy and environmentally sustainable communities and not to maintain and expand the police force “at any cost.” The real victims of the current prioritization will be Black, Latino and immigrant communities who bear the brunt of the social costs of unemployment, escalating cost of living and dwindling social services, further pushing our people into a vicious cycle of hopelessness, violence and mass incarceration.