Generations of immigrants have come to Oakland, adding incalculable value and energy to Oakland’s future. Immigrant workers help to drive our local economy and increase our local tax base as honest members in our society.
Yet many immigrant communities live in fear. Outdated policies have created an atmosphere of paranoia for newcomers. Immigrants commonly deal with challenges that most of us never imagine: not being able to open a bank account, not being able to get urgent medical care, and a lack of translation services.
Since the City Council designated Oakland as one of the country’s first sanctuary cities in America, we have led the way on immigrant rights. Our goal is to create access to services at the points of greatest impact by helping immigrants to connect to health care, translation services and the outstanding nonprofits that exist to do this work.
We cannot allow a society which exploits immigrant workers and treats them as second-class citizens. Oakland needs a study that looks at the immigrant-based economies and what basic steps are needed to end worker exploitation.
And yes, Oakland should protect the civil rights of its immigrant population, and refrain from collaborating with federal immigration authorities.