Operation “Safe City”: A federal retaliation against cities and communities who refuse to cooperate with a white supremacist administration
On September 12, 2017 Juntos along with over 30 local organizations and nine individuals including City Councilwomen Maria Quiñones-Sanchez and Helen Gym and Juntos executive director Erika Almiron filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Philadelphia field office in response to reports that a massive nationwide raid known internally as Operation Mega would be unleashed upon immigrant communities with a goal of detaining over 8,000 individuals before the end of ICE’s fiscal year on September 30th. Not long after, ICE publicly announced that they would be postponing Operation Mega with no indication of when and proceeded to deny the FOIA request at the Philadelphia field office.
This lack of transparency to the public demonstrates that any sense of security from ICE should not be trusted. Just eleven days after submitting the FOIA request, ICE once again proved they are a rogue agency by launching “Operation Safe City”, a massive raid operation targeting “Sanctuary Cities” like Philadelphia. Operation Safe City can only be described as a deliberate retaliation against cities and communities who refuse to cooperate with a racist, xenophobic and white supremacist administration in violating people’s rights. Philadelphia felt the brunt of this retaliation by having the largest number of people disappeared in the country, with 107 people picked up in four days, more than any other ICE office in the country.
The irony of this operation being dubbed “Safe City” does not go unnoticed by the victims of the raids. One local family reported that ICE raided their home wielding guns in front of several children, interrogating one of their daughters without parental consent and proceeded to fingerprint everyone in the household. Some who were handcuffed and removed were described as “collateral damage,” meaning they had no reason to be detained other than being immigrants and are the victims of an agency and political climate that terrorizes and tears apart families with Gestapo style tactics in the name of public safety.
Erika Almiron, Executive Director of Juntos, said “Public safety is about all of us being safe from the hands of Trump’s criminalization machine and cannot be defined by ICE agents who knock down the doors of our homes with guns and drag people out in front of their children. This is why we need to Expand Sanctuary in cities like Philadelphia and in our state to protect our families from this new age Gestapo using immigration as a way to do ethnic cleansing. We must push for policies inside our systems that decriminalize people who are just trying to survive and ensure that our legal system and police don’t collude with ICE, which only makes everyone in our city less safe.”
We are hiring in Juntos for a new organizer and that person may be you. Please send us your resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org by June 10, 2016. Job description below.
Juntos’ organizer will continue to build our human rights campaigns through broad based coalition building and leadership development of leaders in the committees of the organization.
- Bi-lingual in Spanish and English
- Flexible schedule; some nights and weekends.
- Willingness to interpret and translate both Spanish and English materials, written and oral.
- Time management and multi-tasking skills.
- Ability to build and maintain relationships with community members and organization leaders.
- Experience with recruitment and outreach skills.
- Experience with group facilitation and popular education techniques in running and designing interactive workshops in both Spanish and English, including team building activities and engaging dialogue.
- Experience working with communities from diverse ethnic and class backgrounds.
- Understanding of the issues impacting immigrants at the local, state and national level.
- Experience in planning and executing events, workshops, actions, and trips.
- Experience developing leadership of others.
- Good writing and communication skills in both Spanish and English.
- Working with leaders and members of Juntos’ committees on leadership development as well as overseeing the development and implementation the main campaigns in Juntos including immigration, deportation defense and education.
- Using Juntos’ curriculum as well as designing workshops to train members and leaders on leadership skills, immigration policy, and know your rights.
- Facilitating and leading meetings with membership on a weekly basis
- Attendance at relevant coalition meetings as needed.
- Building relationships with leaders.
- Assistance with maintaining Juntos’ office and regular office hours.
- Ongoing and consistent communication with Juntos’ staff and director.
- Assisting the staff in Juntos with outreach, media relations, and communications.
- Bi-cultural and/or from the community.
- Understanding of direct action organizing.
- Campaign-based organizing experience.
- Multiracial coalition building work experience.
On June 24, 2015 Jennicet Eva Gutiérrez, an undocumented trans Latina leader, interrupted President Obama at the White House, calling out the detention and abuse of trans undocumented immigrants. She risked her own deportation to elevate and fight for the trans detainees who face human rights abuses and torture inside detention centers here in the US. A week later immigration authorities finally changed their policy for gender identity in immigration detention centers.
This Friday, November 13th at 6pm Jennicet will be sharing about her fight for trans and immigrant rights at the Juntos Office at 1537 S.6th st (on the corner of 6th st & Tasker st).
Jennicet, who came from Mexico at 15, is a founding member of the national immigrant rights organization Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement and a leader in the national #not1more deportation campaign.
Come join us to learn about how we can all work together to fight back against the detention and deportation machine nationally and how you can support the local work to end deportations, end the detention of our loved ones and how to fight back against the criminilazition of immigrant and LGBTQ communities.
It is with much pride and joy that we announce that on Oct. 22nd Juntos’ own Olivia Vasquez was PICC’s 2015 Youth Leader Award recipient!
In 2012 Olivia co-found Fuerza, the Juntos Youth Committee, focusing on college access for undocumented youth. She help spearhead college access trainings of school counselors in South Philadelphia, develop a comprehensive college access guide through Juntos and the Mayor’s Office of Education and was part of the drafting of the PA Dream Act. We are so proud of the leader Olivia has become and look forward to this amazing leaders continued work in the community.