SAN JOSE, Calif. (CN) – Silicon Valley on Tuesday laid out its resistance to any attempts by the incoming Trump administration to apprehend and forcibly remove undocumented immigrants in its jurisdiction.
Both the San Jose City Council and the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors passed formal resolutions during their respective board meetings Tuesday aimed at not only opposing any federal program targeting immigrants but also implementing a proactive communications program to educate immigrants about their rights and various paths to citizenship.
“It is essential that we enable ourselves to collectively respond to this as a community, because we don’t know what is going to happen after Jan. 20,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said during the City Council meeting.
San Jose and Santa Clara County passed their resolutions on the same day Alabama Sen. And Trump nominee for attorney general Jeff Sessions was grilled at a confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill. Both Sessions and Trump vigorously attacked illegal immigration on the campaign trail, with Trump promising to deport all of the estimated 11 million undocumented men and women currently in the United States.
Sessions, in particular, built his reputation in the Senate as a fierce opponent of immigration, and has said he would not block Trump if the president-elect follows through on campaign promises and ends protections President Barack Obama afforded to young undocumented immigrants via executive order.
Several Silicon Valley lawmakers talked about how such rhetoric has stoked fears in the immigrant community.
“This is personal for me because my parents immigrated to this county and my husband did as well,” San Jose City Councilwoman Sylvia Arenas said.
Arenas said she had to comfort her son, telling him that he will not be sent back to Mexico because he is an American citizen.
“This city is a beacon for diversity,” Arenas said. “We can show the world how immigrant communities can live together.”
San Jose is often ranked as the most diverse city in the nation, as it does not have a majority population of any race. Thirty-two percent of San Jose’s population is Hispanic, 32 percent is Asian and 27 percent is white – with several other races factoring into its demographic composition.
Santa Clara County discussed funding relative to legal services that would educate immigrants about their rights, assist them in securing permanent residency and provide help should they be targeted or apprehended by federal immigration enforcement officials.
The California Legislature is contemplating a similar measure in Senate Bill 6, which would among other provisions require the Department of Social Services to contract with local nonprofits to offer legal services to immigrants.
The state is also considering a separate bill, SB 4, that would “prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies and school police and security from using resources to investigate, detain, detect, report, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes, or to investigate, enforce, or assist in the investigation or enforcement of any federal program requiring registration of individuals on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or national or ethnic origin.”
Other legislation being considered by state lawmakers is similarly oriented toward resisting potential anti-immigration policies that some predict will be undertaken by the incoming Trump administration.
San Jose passed a provision in its resolution that allows city officials to coordinate with various faith-based organizations to ensure those who desire to provide sanctuary are assisted in doing so.
Sessions, whose first nomination hearing lasted over 10 hours, returned to Capitol Hill for round two on Wednesday.