|Chai Jindasurat is the programs coordinator with the NYC National Coalition of Anti-Violence.
Dozens of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer organizations across the country have been adding their voices to the growing national movement to end Immigrations & Customs Enforcement‚Äôs controversial fingerprint-sharing ‚ÄúSecure Communities‚ÄĚ (S-Comm) program. By forcing local law enforcement to share fingerprint data for every person arrested - no matter how valid or minor the charge - with federal immigration authorities, S-Comm has contributed to skyrocketing numbers of detentions and deportations.
Founded in 1979, San Francisco-based Community United Against Violence (CUAV) is the country‚Äôs oldest LGBTQ anti-violence organization in the world, working to build the power of LGBTQ communities to transform violence and oppression. The San Francisco Immigrant Rights Defense Committee of CUAV has announced an exciting victory for immigrants in The City: the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution 8-3 to encourage the Sheriff‚Äôs Department and Juvenile Probation to not honor requests for detention from Immigrations & Customs Enforcement (ICE).
This resolution comes as yet another blow to the controversial ‚ÄúSecure Communities‚ÄĚ fingerprint-sharing ICE program, which has led to the deportation of hundreds of thousands of immigrants since its implementation in 2008. Many of whom are queer.
‚ÄúS-Comm uses the language of safety and security to target immigrants and tear families apart,‚ÄĚ explained Carolina Morales, intervention director at CUAV. ‚ÄúSan Francisco‚Äôs resolution is a powerful statement that our city must remain a Sanctuary City, and that we will defend the human rights of everyone who lives here.‚ÄĚ
Members and advocates representing a diverse coalition of immigrant, labor, LGBTQ, student, and faith organizations that comprise the San Francisco Immigrant Rights Defense Committee helped to author the resolution (introduced by Supervisor Eric Mar) and lobbied for its successful passage. Allan, a CUAV member, testified to the dangerous impacts of S-Comm for immigrant domestic violence survivors: ‚ÄúI am afraid my ex-partner could still retaliate against me by calling the police and falsely accusing my children of a crime so that they will be deported through S-Comm,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúThis has to stop.‚ÄĚ
CUAV will continue to raise the voice of LGBTQ immigrants and domestic violence survivors who are negatively impacted by police/ICE collaboration and other forms of criminalization. In honor of this past National Coming Out Day on October 11, 2011, CUAV coauthored and released a statement endorsed by over sixty local, regional, and national LGBTQ organizations opposing S-Comm.
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) all felt compelled to mark National Coming Out Day by adding their voices to the national upsurge of opposition to S-Comm. ‚ÄúNCAVP is concerned by the impact of police/ ICE collaboration on LGBTQ survivors of violence,‚ÄĚ said Chai Jindasurat, National Coalition of Anti-Violence programs coordinator at the New York City Anti-Violence Project. ‚ÄúIt is not uncommon for LGBTQ survivors of violence to be arrested when they call police for help. NCAVP member programs know that many LGBTQ survivors do not access police for safety when they experience violence, and the Secure Communities program may increase fear, barriers to safety, and risk of detention and deportation for LGBTQ immigrant communities.‚ÄĚ Jindasurat continued, ‚ÄúNCAVP calls for an end to a program that has severe consequences for LGBTQ people.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúWe hear regular reports of LGBTQ people who find themselves in deportation proceedings after being profiled by their race, class, sexuality, and gender as they go about their daily lives or even as they navigate domestic violence,‚ÄĚ said Morgan Bassichis of CUAV. ‚ÄúRather than making anyone more ‚Äėsecure,‚Äô S-Comm endangers all communities by tearing at the fabric of family and support networks, and creating a culture of fear.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúEvery day LGBTQ Californians are being unfairly deported leading to tragic consequences for communities both here and across the country,‚ÄĚ said California Assemblymember Tom Ammiano. ‚ÄúI am urging the Obama Administration to end the deception around S-Comm and suspend this damaging program.‚ÄĚ