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Announcements Blog

New Report on OC’s Immigrant and Refugee Communities: Organizing for Change

New Report on OC's Immigrant and Refugee Communities: Organizing for Change

Copy of OC Report Presentation

We’re excited to announce the release of our new report, “Organizing for Change: Opportunities for Immigrant and Economic Justice in Orange County.”

The report provides an updated overview of OC’s immigrant and refugee populations, examines some of the major issues they face, and highlights opportunities for local leaders to address those pressing issues. Most importantly, the report is a strong reminder that Orange County is a county of immigrants and refugees — and local government should reflect this fact.

 

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Immigrant Justice Press Releases

Orange County Elected Officials Call on State Senators to Support the HOME Act

Orange County Elected Officials Call on State Senators to Support the HOME Act

View PDF here.

14 Orange County elected officials urge State Senators Umberg, Newman, and Min to strengthen protections for immigrants and refugees from deportation by voting to pass the HOME Act. 

Orange County, CA – On Monday, September 11, 14 Orange County elected officials sent a letter to State Senators Tom Umberg, Josh Newman, and Dave Min urging them to vote yes on AB 1306 – the HOME Act (Harmonizing Our Measures for Equality Act). The HOME Act would prevent the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from transferring to federal immigration authorities individuals who have earned release through existing reforms already enacted by the state legislature, including those that allow for elder parole, medical parole and clemency actions by the Governor. 

“It is imperative that as Orange County elected officials, we unequivocally reject the resurgence of Trumpian scapegoating rhetoric and firmly support efforts to end harmful policies of double punishment,” the elected officials state in the letter sent to the Senators on Monday. “By ensuring immigrants and refugees who have earned release under existing reforms are truly able to return to their communities and rebuild their lives, we can further our commitments to upholding our shared values of fairness and equality.”

The HOME Act would ensure that immigrant Californians, including many Orange County community members, who earn release from state prison under existing criminal justice laws can come home instead of being double punished and cruelly transferred to ICE where they experience indefinite detention and, oftentimes, permanent separation from their families and communities. 

As a call to action, the undersigned elected officials call on Orange County’s state senators to reaffirm their commitments to equal justice for all, including immigrants and refugees, by voting to pass the HOME Act.

The HOME Act is supported by the Democratic Party of Orange County, the Santa Ana City Council, and over 100 faith, civil rights and community-based organizations across the state.

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Categories
Immigrant Justice Press Releases

SAFFE Campaign Launch

Santa Ana Families for Fair Elections Launches Campaign to Expand Local Voting Rights for All Santa Ana Noncitizen Residents

View PDF here.

The campaign announcement comes as the California Court of Appeals sets precedent by ruling constitutional San Francisco’s noncitizen voting ordinance, which had been challenged in courts. 

Santa Ana, CA – Santa Ana Families for Fair Elections (SAFFE), a multiracial coalition of community organizations and residents in Santa Ana, announces the launch of a campaign urging the Santa Ana City Council to expand voting rights for all Santa Ana residents regardless of their immigration status. The campaign aims to enfranchise the nearly one out of every four residents in the city who are noncitizens and currently excluded from voting in local elections. 

Maria de Los Angeles Piña, an immigrant resident of Santa Ana for 20 years and member of SAFFE, stated, “City funding and resources are allocated based on political representation. We live in a city where the majority of residents are renters and many of them are immigrants and refugees that cannot vote. We need political representation that reflects us. We must have the right to vote to have our voices represented.”

Santa Ana is home to the largest share of noncitizens in Orange County. Out of the city’s estimated 313,818 residents, 74,125 (23.62%) are noncitizens who currently do not have the right to vote for city council elections. At the heart of SAFFE’s campaign lies the principle of democratic inclusion that every resident’s voice should be heard in decisions that significantly impact their daily lives. 

“We are launching this campaign to end the political exclusion of immigrants and refugees in Santa Ana,” said Carlos Perea, Executive Director of the Harbor Institute for Immigrant & Economic Justice. “It is undemocratic to exclude a large number of residents living in the city from voting in local elections. We must close the gap between those who govern and the governed.”

Phuong Vu, a Vietnamese senior resident of Santa Ana for 27 years and member of SAFFE, stated, “The city needs to expand the right to vote for all residents regardless of immigration status. As immigrants, we also contribute to the city. This will only strengthen our city and showcase freedom and equality. It will help uplift the spirit of the Vietnamese community in Santa Ana and improve our living conditions. I urge the City Council to help us pass noncitizen voting to improve Santa Ana for everyone.”

Apolonio Cortes, an immigrant resident of Santa Ana for 26 years and member of SAFFE, adds, “I live in Santa Ana, and I know the issues in my neighborhood and in the city very well. Although it’s important for elected officials to listen to us, that is not enough. We must also have the opportunity to vote to ensure city officials are serving all residents. It is very important to empower a community that has economically contributed to the city.”

Earlier this month, the First District Court of Appeal issued a ruling in favor of San Francisco’s noncitizen voting ordinance, which has allowed immigrant parents to vote in school board elections since 2016 but was legally challenged last year. This sets precedent for charter cities like Santa Ana to expand voting rights to noncitizens. 

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Santa Ana Families for Fair Elections (SAFFE) is a multiracial coalition of community organizations and residents in Santa Ana dedicated to fostering belonging among immigrant and refugee communities and bolstering democratic inclusion.