Sunday, February 5, 2017


Immediately after Donald Trump won the electoral college vote count many people understood that his inflammatory rhetoric would soon become policy. In Kern County a group of attorneys (26 at last count) joined forces with numerous community groups to form the Immigration Justice Collaborative, and are now providing legal clinics in a series of town hall meetings for our regions undocumented and international populations. To date, there have been three events (Miramonte High School, Delano, and Lamont), with several more in the works.

The next town hall will be held at CSU Bakersfield on February 21st.

The town halls are organized to provide general information on rights and responsibilities during the introduction - with specific emphasis on the 4th Amendment, immigration, employment law and civil rights - followed with attorneys answering individual case questions for those in the audience. Audience members can speak with attorneys individually after the introduction, and it's all done free of charge.

California State University Bakersfield's Center for Social Justice (which I co-direct) secured funding from The California Endowment to create a documentary of this traveling legal clinic, and have been working with the Immigration Justice Collaborative on this project from the beginning.

Raji Jhaj-Brar discusses Indian-Sikh community issues with the film crew.
Attorney's David Torres and Beto Sala just before opening remarks.

In the FYI department, as I noted in an earlier post, the California State University Office of the Chancellor issued a strong open letter to the CSU statewide community that says "unless contravened by California Government code or required by law" ...

• The CSU will not enter into agreements with state or local law enforcement agencies, Homeland Security or any other federal department for the enforcement of federal immigration law;  
• Our university police departments will not honor immigration hold requests; and  
• Our university police do not contact, detain, question or arrest individuals solely on the basis of being – or suspected of being – a person that lacks documentation. 

We are also partnering with elected officials at the state and national level to inform and work to prevent negative developments regarding immigration for our undocumented students, including those with DACA status."

With the positions taken by California's governor and our legislative leaders, it's clear at this point that California and the CSU community will not be working with the uglier elements of the Trump administration when it comes to immigration.

For those unfamiliar with the CSUB campus, the map below will be helpful. Look for the Student Union (Building #53), which is right next to parking lot "K1." Parking is free for this event.

I'll provide updates on additional town hall forums we are working on as they progress. Stay tuned.

- Mark


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