On July 18, the Oakland City Council voted unanimously to terminate the Oakland Police Department’s federal agreement with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), formerly known as ICE. The resolution by Council Member Rebecca Kaplan followed a unanimous recommendation from the City’s Privacy Commission which had investigated the status of all of the City’s agreements with federal law enforcement agencies.
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Oakland “Deports” ICE – City Council Cuts All Ties With Federal Immigration Enforcement.
Wednesday Jul 19, 2017 · 9:15 AM PDT
From: Councilmember Kaplan
Recommendation: Adopt A Resolution
(1) Rescinding Resolution No. 86156 C.M.S., Which Authorized The City Administrator To Enter Into A Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) With The Immigrations And Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) Agency, For The Purpose Of Allowing Particular Oakland Police Department (OPD) Officers To Be Designated As United States Customs Title 19 Task Force Officers (TFOS); And
(2) Directing The City Administrator To Immediately Terminate The Agreement With “ICE”
Oakland had already declared itself a sanctuary city, but incongruously still had a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ICE, allowing its officers to cooperate in certain ways with its agents. As the San Francisco Chronicle reports:
Citing concerns over data sharing and heightened fear of deportations, the Oakland City Council on Tuesday unanimously rescinded an agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement signed last summer by former Police Chief Sean Whent…
“There is a chilling effect going on right now, a dramatic decrease in the reporting of crime from Hispanic communities. Houston and Los Angeles police chiefs are already reporting that the Hispanic communities will not report crime because they are so afraid of the data getting into the hands of the feds… Any police officer will tell you that they need community trust, witness cooperation.”
Spokespeople from the ACLU, Amnesty International, the Asian Law Caucus, and the Council on American Relations spoke in support of the measure.
As far as we are aware, this is the first time a major city has terminated an existing agreement with ICE.
The Oakland City Council also passed a first reading of an ordinance designed to provide transparency and more closely regulate Oakland’s agreements with other Federal agencies:
WHEREAS, the City Council finds that no decisions relating to participation in federal counterterrorism or other federal law enforcement activities should occur without strong consideration being given to the impacts such participation may have on civil rights and civil liberties, including those rights guaranteed by the California and United States Constitutions; and
NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF OAKLAND DOES ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:
1) The City of Oakland, including but not limited to the Oakland Police Department, may assist federal agencies, including but not limited to, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) through its_Joint Terrorism Task Force, or any successor task force, joint operation, assignment, or enforcement activity (collectively, “JTTF”) in preventing and investigating possible acts of terrorism and other criminal activity only in a manner that is fully consistent with the laws of the State of California, including but not limited to the inalienable right to privacy guaranteed by Article 1, Section 1 of the California Constitution, as well as the laws and policies of the City of Oakland, including but not limited to Police Department policies, procedures, and orders.
2) Before execution of any Memorandum of Understanding or other written agreement, contract or arrangement (collectively, “MOU”) between the Oakland Police Department and the FBI, or other federal law enforcement agency, regarding the Police Department’s participation on the JTTF or other federal law enforcement agency task force, or any amendment to any such existing MOU, the Chief of Police shall submit the proposed MOU and any orders, policies, and procedures relevant to the subject matter of the MOU for discussion and public comment at an open meeting of the Privacy Advisory Commission.
Commenting on this legilsation, Christina Sinha, an Asian Law Caucus attorney, said
“The FBI has been surveilling Arab Middle Eastern, Muslim and Southeast Asian community for years, and their aggressive profiling has absolutely terrorized this community.”
Previously, agreements with Federal law enforcement agencies and the Oakland Police went unnoticed and unmonitored. The City Council would give approval for the Chief of Police to negotiate an MOU with a Federal Agency but never review what was agreed to or any implications on civil liberties. Once this ordinance takes effect such goings on will be no more.
Oakland is sending a strong message to its residents, to the Trump administration, and to the world:
ALL ARE WELCOME HERE.
Other municipalities should be doing the same.
Brian Hofer: “I hope this (greater oversight of fed-local police task forces) gives Trump & Sessions heartburn.”