Tatiana Sanchez| San Jose Mercury News| Link to Article
SAN JOSE — Building on a national push to create safe spaces for immigrant communities, activists and local politicians on Thursday launched the Santa Clara County ‘Rapid Response Network’ and hotline aimed at protecting undocumented immigrants from deportation.
The project, led by a coalition of South Bay organizations, will provide, “moral and accompaniment support during and after immigration operations in our community,” organizers said in a statement.
It’s the latest in a series of grassroots efforts across the Bay Area and beyond designed to support, advise or protect immigrants at risk of deportation. Hotlines, mobile apps, pop-up workshops and other rapid-response resources have become commonplace as activists look to challenge the Trump administration’s sweeping immigration policies.
“While actions in Washington, D.C. are tearing communities apart throughout the country, in San Jose and throughout the valley, our community is coming together to support our most vulnerable neighbors,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.
“This effort says much about the character of our community and how we’re pulling together at a time when tens of thousands of our members are facing very difficult circumstances over which they have little or no control.”
Critics, however, condemn the efforts, saying undocumented immigrants should face the consequences of being in the country illegally. Others say these efforts are organized in vain because they ultimately can’t prevent or stop local ICE activity.
In April, the grassroots organization PACT — People Acting in Community Together — launched a “solidarity network” to protect targeted community members.
The network includes 70 congregations throughout Santa Clara County. Some have pledged to offer sanctuary to families at immediate risk of deportation while others will provide various forms of support to these individuals, such as connecting them to legal resources. Others will participate in the collaborative Santa Clara County Rapid Response Network, with trained volunteers that plan to show up to the scene of local ICE raids to document the incident.
Organizers on Thursday revealed the hotline and how it works during a press conference at the Santee Community Center. The hotline, which is available in downtown and east San Jose and will soon expand into the entire county, is for residents who want to report ICE activity or raids in their communities.
The Santa Clara County Rapid Response Network and hotline is a collaborative project led by several organizations, including: Sacred Heart Community Service, Pangea Legal Services, PACT, SOMOS Mayfair, LUNA, SIREN, South Bay Labor Council, CARAS, Diocese of San José, Consulate of Mexico, Human Agenda, San Jose’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and Santa Clara County’s Office of Immigrant Relations.