Community leaders pledge to resist immigration crackdown

Civility Roundtable speakers encourage citizens to continue protesting

Pledging a united front to protect migrants, local policymakers, school officials and law enforcement on Saturday issued a rallying cry to protest the recent executive orders by President Donald Trump. At the city-sponsored Civility Roundtable event, panel members gave repeated assurances to a crowd of about 200 that they would look to safeguard the full patchwork of the South Bay community, and they invited everyone to join them in the effort.

"It sort of feels that everything we cherish about this county is under attack or at least under deep scrutiny," said Mountain View City Councilman Lenny Siegel, reading a letter from Mayor Ken Rosenberg, who could not attend the event. "It's at times like this that we must defend what we believe is right and just -- this is what it means to be American."

Dubbed "Affirming Mountain View's Values and Building Community in Times of Uncertainty," the roundtable on Saturday morning, Feb. 11, was moved to the main stage of the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts to accommodate the crowd. Among the speakers on the eight-person panel were Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, Mountain View Police Chief Max Bosel, and administrators from all three public school districts serving the city.

Spending almost two months organizing the Saturday discussion, the Mountain View Human Relations Commission tried to avoid framing the event as a broadside against Trump so that a wider range of perspectives could be shared. But if any supporters of the new president were in the audience, they kept mum.

As president, Trump followed through on his divisive campaign rhetoric by signing a series of executive orders. Late last month, he issued edicts to bar residents from seven mostly Muslim countries and to begin deportations of undocumented residents convicted of crimes. In doing so, he threatened to remove federal funding for so-called sanctuary cities that refused to cooperate with federal immigration officials.

The actions put the Bay Area in the cross hairs. The most active participant on the panel, Simitian pointed out that Santa Clara County could stand to lose out on "$300 million to $1.5 billion" in federal funding if the president's threat is carried out. But he described such an action as an illegal taking of public funds, pointing out the county had recently filed a lawsuit against the measure in court.

In addition, the county supervisors had also signed a resolution opposing the ban on residents from the seven predominantly Muslim countries entering the U.S., created a funding pool for legal aid for undocumented residents, and established a "federal affairs advocacy task force" to keep a close eye on the new administration's actions, Simitian said.

But Simitian and other speakers asserted they couldn't take on this resistance effort alone, and they urged more citizens to stay engaged in politics.

"The challenge right now is to mitigate the damage for the next few years," he said. "I have absolutely no doubt that the values that we cherish and the community we care about will come out stronger."

Mountain View Whisman Superintendent Ayinde Rudolph described efforts to conduct cultural-sensitivity training and announced a forthcoming survey to determine if there's been any rise in bullying, intimidation or charged rhetoric since the election. Other superintendents pointed out how their respective school boards have signed resolutions to show their opposition to Trump's executive orders.

Law enforcement officials were more technical in their reaction to the new federal policies. Police Chief Bosel explained how his officers needed cooperation from the undocumented community to ensure public safety. His officers don't enforce immigration law as part of standard protocol unless an undocumented suspect is convicted of a crime, he said. The decision on whether to pass along a suspect to immigration officials depends on the "totality of circumstances," he said, adding that those situations are rare.

"Regardless of nationality, we provide police services," he said. "It's not a matter of political correctness; it's a matter of establishing safety in the public interest."

Members of the public asked about how individuals could best make shows of civil disobedience. Jay Boyarsky, chief assistant district attorney for Santa Clara County, said all citizens were free to exercise their rights to assemble and speak out, but his office would not tolerate vandalism or theft stemming from any political protest.

One questioner asked about a likely future scenario: What would happen if Trump comes to visit Silicon Valley? In all likelihood, the president would fly into Moffett Federal Airfield and an entourage of local leaders would be invited to greet him.

Speaking for Mountain View, Siegel could only hint at what would happen.

"We've talked about this -- but I don't want to say what we've talked about," Siegel said. "Let me assure you that we won't greet him quite in the way that we greeted President Obama."


53 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 17, 2017 at 1:06 pm

This is really getting old. And turning off a lot of common sense liberals like myself. It's all going to backfire and get Trump elected for four more years in 2020.

The City Council should spend its time and energy on taking care of city business first (parking issues, walkability, housing, etc) rather than showboating and grandstanding.

Superintendent Rudolph should focus on his job (fixing the math curriculum) before he gets involved in this issue. We certainly don't need undocumented students who also don't know basic math.

Chief Bosel says his "officers don't enforce immigration law as part of standard protocol unless an undocumented suspect is convicted of a crime". Wow! How is that any different from what President Trump, and even Obama before him, have suggested?

Elected officials and public employees not willing to follow the laws of the country should simply resign and look for work elsewhere if they have such a problem with Trump. No one is holding their feet to the fire. There are plenty of people looking for work and a good paying job in the public sector.

As far as Councilman Siegel not being willing to greet President Trump as he would have Obama... how about showing a little more class? His statement is disgraceful no matter how you look at it.

72 people like this
Posted by Not really Unified
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 17, 2017 at 1:14 pm

Me Novak, your headline is misleading and your first sentence about a unified front doesn't really fit. I was at this meeting and I didn't see hear or see that a unified front was being assembled to protect immigrants. I saw a panel that was assembled to just speak on the manner and provide information that it's business as normal. Which is local government doesn't deal with these matters. If the federal government comes in to do a "raid" local government is not involved. They haven't done those types of actions since the 90s and they sure don't have the staffing to deal with those. They have plenty of immigrants that have criminal records to chase down then to deal with those type of round ups.

3 people like this
Posted by touche
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 17, 2017 at 1:48 pm


15 people like this
Posted by @Observer
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 17, 2017 at 2:25 pm

Anyone who follows your posting here will find your claim to be a "common sense liberal" pretty laughable...

157 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 17, 2017 at 2:56 pm


You are wrong, but just keep engaging in ad hominem attacks that contributes nothing to the discussion.

10 people like this
Posted by @Observer
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 17, 2017 at 3:38 pm

Care to clue us in on what your "common sense liberal" views are, aside from tearing apart families with undocumented immigrants, denying refugees, and wanting lower taxes?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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