According to many legal sources, including the ACLU, being undocumented in this country, by itself, is not a crime. Entering this country improperly is a federal misdemeanor (or felony) that is punishable with a $250 fine and up to six months in jail per incident. This is a civil, not criminal act. California Senate Bill 54 is proposed legislature that, if signed into law, would separate the functions of State, County, and local police forces from those of federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with regard to checking immigration or citizenship status during routine checks of individuals. It would not affect local police departments ability to work with federal agents in pursuit of violent criminals as part of task forces. It would conserve local tax dollars allocated for local police to address crimes committed by citizens, legal residents or undocumented persons alike.
Many of us attended the March City Council Meeting and spoke in support of SB-54. Jim Aste prepared a letter of support for SB-54 from the City of Ferndale for the City Council to consider sending to the California Legislature. Several impassioned speakers addressed the Council in support of such a letter. A few folks spoke against the idea. In the end, the Council voted not to officially endorse passage of SB-54. A version of that letter has been sent to the State Assembly and Senate on behalf of a new group in town: Indivisible Ferndale. Read our letter to the State Legislature here.
I felt that because of the recent confusion, fear and mistrust in the local Latino community generated by pronouncements from the campaign trail, White House and Congress, a statement needed to be made. After the vote by the Council, I found this idea had even more traction. Local families with undocumented household members are concerned with how other Ferndale community members feel about them. With the help of dedicated proofreaders, an open letter to the community was written and will be printed in the Ferndale Enterprise alongside its Spanish translation and signed by anyone who agrees with its intent.
If you want your name added to the growing list of signatories, please send your endorsement approval to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you know of others who would like to support this effort, please forward this message to them.
In addition, we are seeking financial assistance to publish this as a full page ad. Your individual contribution can help defray costs but is not required in order to have your name listed. The two actions are being separated. If you are able to contribute to the $800 cost of a full page statement of support, please bring your donation to John and Barbara Vernon (786-7172) at 1095 Cream Court or mail a check payable to Stephen Avis, PO Box 777, Ferndale, CA 95536.