2009 was a year of hard work and important victories. As part of the San Francisco Immigrant Rights Defense Committee, we organized to overturn two anti-immigrant policies on the city level! These new policies we won protect the rights of youth and families and help to de-criminalize working people in our city. In November, a historic vote by the Board of Supervisors overrode Mayor Newsom’s veto of a policy to restore due process to undocumented youth!
In November, a historic vote by the Board of Supervisors overrode Mayor Newsom’s veto of a policy to restore due process to undocumented youth! Whereas before youth who were accused of a crime and who were suspected to be undocumented were referred immediately to immigration authorities, the new law assures these same youth the right to a trial before being turned over to ICE. February 10 is the deadline for the city to implement this new law that will restore due process to youth and keep San Francisco’s families in tact.
Immigrant youth were not the only ones who won a victory. Late in the year, we convinced the city to ease up its car impoundment policy, which had previously required drivers without licenses to surrender their vehicles for 30 days. Upon completion of the 30-day mandatory impoundment, many drivers were unable to pay the exorbitant fees that had accrued in order to get their cars released. Without cars, undocumented immigrants, who are prohibited from obtaining California drivers’ licenses, faced major obstacles in being able to do things such as get to work. Fortunately, the new policy allows twenty minutes for an unlicensed driver who gets pulled over to call a for a licensed driver to come pick up the car instead of having it get impounded. The new policy also waives the 30-day mandatory impoundment for drivers who have not been pulled over within the previous six months.
While these wins are important, they are only small steps towards making San Francisco a truly safe and welcoming city for immigrants. Together with our allies, Causa Justa :: Just Cause will continue to work towards justice for all Bay Area residents.