The state of US Immigration Enforcement in California

The Southern California News Group recently published my article with an update on illegal immigration policy in California.  

To learn more, you can read below:

The state of US Immigration Enforcement in California

As a local City Council member, I hear from people who have questions about illegal immigration. To get answers, I recently attended a town hall event for public officials that was organized by the office of Rep. Grace Napolitano. The meeting presented facts about the current status of illegal immigration policies in California.

The key speaker was Jorge R. Field, acting deputy field office director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Mr. Field is a 20-year veteran of ICE and works in the Enforcement and Removal Operations department at the Los Angeles office. Napolitano referred to Field as her “go-to person” when constituents contact her regarding immigration concerns.

During the meeting, we learned that ICE has two separate divisions with different staff, protocol and funding. Homeland Security investigates a range of immigration issues deemed potential threats to the national safety of the United States, while Enforcement and Removal Operations, or “ERO,” is responsible for maintaining compliance with immigration laws and removals.

ICE ERO’s mission is to locate and deport individuals who are in the United States illegally, and they prioritize cases of those who have been recently released from incarceration. These are individuals who have had their cases heard in court, completed the appeals process, were found guilty, served time and are now eligible for deportation.

ICE is a federal agency and does not receive state funding. California laws limit ICE access to convicted criminals and, as a result, ICE does not ask for information or assistance from local law enforcement. ICE follows a “Sensitive Locations Policy” that prohibits making arrests at California schools, hospitals and churches. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA students cannot be arrested unless they commit crimes or violate the terms of their status. ICE does not conduct raids, pay bounties or participate in police checkpoints.

In California, local police have an issue with many residents who are here illegally not reporting crimes or coming forward as witnesses because of fear of deportation. In an effort to address this problem, local law enforcement are not tasked with handling immigration work. They do not arrest, detain or deport undocumented residents unless they have committed a crime, and they are not in cooperation with ICE. 

Recently, two laws were passed at the state capitol in Sacramento that dramatically changed the way ICE is able to interview and make arrests in California. The Trust Act and Truth Act prohibit police, the county and the state of California from sharing information with ICE about “convicted criminal illegal aliens.” Rather than being deported immediately upon completion of their sentences, these individuals are now allowed to return to the community, and ICE must search for them within society.

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Development Town Hall

Wednesday, February 18, 2015
7-9pm
Bidwell Forum (above the Glendora City Library)

The City has heard from many residents who have concerns about the size and scope of current development projects in Glendora. At the Council’s request, a Development Town Hall meeting will be held this Wednesday evening at 7pm at Bidwell Forum.

There are currently 11 projects in various stages of planning and construction within city limits. The City’s Planning Director Jeff Kugel will discuss those projects and offer information about the background and purpose of the “Route 66 Specific Plan” which guides development along the Rt. 66 corridor.  The goal of the meeting is to explain the development process, answer questions and seek citizen input.

Citizens are encouraged to attend the Town Hall meeting in order to:

• Learn about the city’s planning process for development approval
• Learn about current and upcoming development projects
• Ask questions and receive answers
• Let the city know your concerns

Comment cards will be distributed to attendees and will be read and responded to following Director Kugel’s presentation.

Your input is important. Please take advantage of this opportunity to learn and to let your city representatives know what your thoughts are.

Thank you,

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Development in Glendora

Many Glendorans are expressing concern about new construction in our city, particularly the large scale Avalon Bay project on the NE corner of Rt. 66 and Glendora Ave.

Over the past 7 years, the loss of state redevelopment funds in combination with the economic recession resulted in very few new real estate developments in Glendora.  Recently, with the increase of the housing market, developers have returned to our city.

The Avalon Bay project was guided by the “Route 66 Corridor Specific Plan” which was initiated in 2000.  The Plan was three years in the making and received input from “The Alosta Corridor Committee,” which was a group of citizens, staff and council members. It was approved by council in 2003 and since then, has been the standard used for planning new development in the area.

At City Hall this Tuesday, January 13th, 2015 at 7pm, there will be an important city council meeting. We will be discussing and voting on two related items: 1. Is it time to review the Rt. 66 Corridor Specific Plan? and, 2. Should we hold a Town Hall meeting for residents regarding development? 

You are invited to attend this upcoming meeting to give your opinion during public comment, or you can contact the council in advance. 

The Rt. 66 Plan encourages high density development in order to meet the needs of the city such as bringing young families to Glendora to increase dwindling school enrollments, support local businesses and raise municipal revenue. The plan also aims to place housing near the future Gold Line train station so residents can easily commute to work. The five-story, 280 unit Avalon Bay project met the criterion of the Rt. 66 Corridor Specific Plan and did not require any variances to be approved.

For the past several years, I have spoken with our city manager and council regarding a review of the Rt. 66 Corridor Specific Plan to ensure that it still meets the needs and desires of our residents. One of my particular concerns is that The Plan does not allow for set-backs of more than 10 feet, which requires buildings to be close to the sidewalk with minimal landscaping. The Plan also allows for 5 story construction, which can block views of the foothills.

A review of The Plan has not received much support, and very few residents have attended council meetings to voice their opinion. If these matters are important to you, please become involved. Local government requires that three groups —city council, staff and citizens— all actively participate in the decision making process to achieve a well-rounded outcome.

If you are unable to attend Tuesday’s council meeting, you may watch at home on channel 3/31, or view it live on the city website at this link: http://www.ci.glendora.ca.us/residents/online-videos

Upcoming meeting agendas are also posted on the City website, along with video archives of prior meetings. For the past three months, each council meeting has had an in-depth presentation and discussion of various developments in process with the city. These videos are available for viewing on our website and residents are welcome to offer their feedback.