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Home, Not Heartbreak: A Photography Series

September 6, 2023 News

Californians who are immigrants and refugees are beloved members of our families, neighborhoods, workplaces, schools, places of worship and faith, sports teams, and so much more. Yet when immigrant Californians are treated differently under unjust and exclusionary policies, these vibrant communities suffer.

In recent years, calls to end mass incarceration and meaningfully address racial injustice have resulted in California legislators passing broadly-supported criminal justice reforms. These laws enable people to return to their communities after they have earned their release from prison or jail. Immigrant Californians, however, are not included in these measures because of where they were born. Instead, they are subject to an unequal system of justice and the state prison system pushes them into ICE detention and deportation. This double punishment devastates families across our state.

In the face of these injustices, immigrant communities are at the forefront of a statewide movement to reunite families and help more people build safe and thriving lives. This year, Californians across the state are urging their legislators to pass the HOME Act (AB 1306), which would make sure that broadly-supported, existing criminal justice reforms apply to all Californians equally.

ACTION: Tell your Gov. Newsom to pass the HOME Act, which would make sure all Californians get access to the same criminal justice reforms

Over the past few months, in partnership with Survival Media Agency photographers and documentarians, we’ve had the chance to spend time with Californians who have been directly impacted by the state’s prison-to-ICE pipeline. They are among the lucky few who have been able to get out of ICE detention through tireless community and legal advocacy. These Californians are rebuilding their lives in beautiful ways, made possible because they are home.

While they are a small example of the thousands of California families, parents, students, domestic violence survivors, and residents who are harmed by the California prison system’s collaboration with ICE transfers each year, these community members are sharing their stories to encourage California to pass the HOME Act (AB 1306).

For the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing stories and photos that capture the safety and community strength made possible when people can come home. Follow #HOMEAct and #HomeNotHeartbreak on Twitter and Instagram for updates and join people across the state calling on California legislators and Governor Newsom to enact the HOME Act, reunite families, and uphold our values of fairness and equality.