While immigration and immigrant rights have long been an issue of importance to Sonoma County, current federal and state executive and legislative actions require the County to reassess the needs of undocumented community members with respect to services and legal protection. Legal and political shifts have caused a high level fear and anxiety in our communities. This anxiety has led to the withdrawal of families from government sponsored programs, including schools, health and human services, underreporting of crimes, and concern by employers in local industries of potential indiscriminate workplace raids. This has serious impacts on the safety and wellbeing of our communities.
To address these issues, the Board of Supervisors approved the County Immigration Initiative to improve the safety of our communities and enhance access to services for undocumented residents and their families. Specifically, the Immigration Initiative includes the following:
Assessing County and Community Programs – Identifying services for immigrants, analyzing the sufficiency of those services as compared with the need, conducting a service gap analysis, and researching and assessing opportunities for the County to support legal services for immigrants either within the County or within community organizations.
Creating an Information Hub – Developing an online central information source for the community and distributing information to clients on immigrant rights, family preparedness, and services. This includes consolidating and disseminating information on available trainings, programs and developments in this area, organizing and informing volunteers and service providers, as well as establishing a dedicated email address and other methods of receiving and disseminating information.
Legislative Advocacy – Researching and analyzing current and recently introduced or enacted immigration laws and executive orders to understand the legal and political landscape, identify opportunities to advocate for change at the State and Federal levels, and weigh any potential risks associated with those efforts. As part of this work the Board has supported SB 6 (Hueso) and AB 3 (Bonta), which would increase funding and training for legal services, and SB 54 (De Leon), which would generally prevent the use of state and local funds to aid federal deportation action and create service provider safe zones.