Target: Berkeley, California City Council
Goal: Applaud city for protecting residents from police abuse and protecting civil liberties
A recent vote by the Berkeley, California city council has put the city on the frontlines of the fights against police brutality and for civil liberties. The decision was made, in a unanimous vote, for the city to cease working and cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This newest reform helps to protect those who may be discriminated against based on immigration status.
The city also recently established a new set of policies for local law enforcement that aim to protect the civil liberties of residents. These policies include revisions to surveillance and intelligence-gathering protocols, granting requests for military equipment, and policy-governing arrests based on suspicious activity.
The decision to stop cooperating with groups such as ICE is based in no small part on the controversial S-comm program, in which the fingerprints of arrestees are automatically sent to federal databases. There they are ran, and if the individual is suspected of being an undocumented immigrant, he or she is immediately transferred to federal holding, regardless of whether or not he or she is being charged with a crime.
Berkeley’s decision to not be part of this program will make the city a safer place; people will not be afraid to report crimes or go the police. The rights and liberties of Berkeley residents are well-protected, while the ability of local police to do their jobs is not hampered. These are truly unprecedented decisions; no other cities have passed such sweeping reforms and policies. Thank Berkeley for its huge push forward in the everlasting fight for civil rights.
Dear Members of the Berkeley City Council,
You recently passed a number of policy changes that are truly groundbreaking. They not only deal with what your local law enforcement agencies can and cannot do, but more importantly serve as vital protection for the civil liberties of your city’s residents. These reforms are unprecedented and mark a tremendous victory for civil rights protection.
Police will have to be far more judicious in terms of who they arrest now—being “suspicious” is no longer enough on its own; an arrestee must actually pose a threat. Furthermore, your decision to longer cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s S-comm program will serve to protect countless people (even people under arrest have rights), as they will no longer immediately have their fingerprints turned over to federal law enforcement agencies and risk deportation without ever being charged with a crime.
Thank you for your dedication to civil rights. We are all protected by the Constitution, something that can often be forgotten when dealing with issues of security. Thankfully, Berkeley did not forget this. You have set something in motion that hopefully cities all across this country will become a part of—putting the rights and liberties of their residents above all else. The fight for civil rights is not over, and probably never will be, but by passing these reforms you have advanced just a bit further. Thank you.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Genista via flickr