Here are snippets of immigration situation in Marin, as offered by Public Defender Jose Varela, San Rafael Police Chief Diana Bishop, Canal Alliance Director Omar Carrera and West Marin advocate Maria Niggle:
- Everyone in the United States who is not Native American (indigenous) comes from an immigrant family.
- Fifty years ago there was no border between the United States and Mexico. Residents walked freely between countries as neighbors, co-workers, friends, family.
- Today more Mexicans are leaving the United States than are coming in – because the Mexican economy is improving.
- Immigrants come to the United States for jobs - and jobs are plentiful here in Marin County.
- Fear in the local immigrant communities is pervasive and contagious. West Marin maintains a telephone hotline to alert residents of impending ICE raids. Residents in the Canal report being afraid to leave their homes.
- Crops are dying in American fields today because farm workers are not coming out to work.
- Children have been taught what to do when (not if) their parents are taken away during the day and don’t pick them up after school. Worse: children are being taken out of school.
- Congressman Jared Huffman has established an Advance Authorization Form for immigrants to give his office permission to act on behalf of a detained immigrant.
- In San Rafael, police are well trained to be advocates of safety for all residents, without regard to immigrant status.