Rejecting Registries – A Reflection on 100 Days of Justice

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July 5, 2017

During World War II, FDR ordered the registry used to carry out the forced removal and internment of thousands of Japanese Americans. It wasn’t until the 1980s that the U.S. government finally acknowledged “race prejudice, war hysteria, and failure of political leadership” as the motivating factors behind the heinous actions.

In 2002, President George W. Bush enacted NSEERS, a program registering non-citizen visa holders from 25 countries. In the nine years it existed, the list disproportionately targeted Muslims and Arabs. The program led to over 13,000 individuals placed in deportation proceedings while resulting in zero terrorism convictions.  

Despite the catastrophic moral and ethical failures of these past programs, calls for a registry echoed once again in the country at the beginning of this year. Throughout his campaign and following his inauguration, the current President and his advisors ignored the lessons of history, flirting once against with the idea of a new Muslim registry. Such misguided actions would do little to improve our national security and serve only to instill fear in our communities.

In response, we made resisting any effort to enact such a program a central focus of our 100 Days of Justice Campaign. With the support of a broad coalition of organizations –  the San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SFBA), Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC), Alliance of South Asians Taking Action (ASATA), the National Lawyers Guild – San Francisco Bay Area (NLG SF), and the ACLU of Northern California – and strong support from community members, we mobilized the community and advocated for legislative officials to take action.

From gatherings at City Hall to public testimonies at board hearings by our community members, our efforts culminated in the signing of the San Francisco Anti-Registry Ordinance on March 21st by Mayor Ed Lee. The ordinance prohibits the city from using any resources to develop a registry based on religion, national origin, or ethnicity, reaffirming San Francisco’s sanctuary status. The first of its kind in the country, the ordinance reflects our commitment as a community to protect our neighbours against discrimination and embrace the diversity that makes us so unique.

When we began our 100 Days of Justice Campaign at the start of this current presidency, we set ambitious goals to advocate for policy and legislative agenda, continue to fight injustice in the courts, and mobilize our community partners. While this ordinance is a realization of that action, it’s only the beginning. The California Religious Freedom Act (SB 31), a similar bill to the ordinance, passed the State Senate on April 3rd and is now awaiting action in the Assembly. Laws such as these send a strong message that we will not tolerate for hate. Though the first 100 days of the Trump Presidency has ended, we must and we will keep the momentum going. We must ensure that any act of discrimination, any act of bigotry, and any act of hate will be met with equal resistance. And finally, we must fight to ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself.

ALERT: ICE is planning raids on the Cambodian community in the next few weeks. If you are Cambodian, have a deportation order, and were asked to check-in with ICE soon, contact 415-952-0413 to speak to a lawyer.

For resources and information regarding legal services, visit SEAraids.org
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ALERT: ICE is planning raids on the Cambodian community in the next few weeks. If you are Cambodian, have a deportation order, and were asked to check-in with ICE soon, contact 415-952-0413 to speak to a lawyer.

For resources and information regarding legal services, visit SEAraids.org

View previous comments

My understanding is the US plans to deport 200 cambodians per year until everybody with an order of removal is deported. I don't mean to cause fear but I strongly encourage anybody with a removal order to fight their cases now because once you are detained it becomes much more difficult to have access to attorneys and other resources. I fear this cycle will continue over the next few years.

8 hours ago   ·  10

5 Replies

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None of us are free unless all of us are free from fear! This is unacceptable!

8 hours ago   ·  8
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I love you all, my Southeast Asian brothers and sisters! You’re not alone in this fight!!

3 hours ago   ·  1
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Started with Mexicans, Muslims, now Cambodians... who is next?

7 hours ago   ·  3

2 Replies

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Immigration lawyer ain’t going to do anything but take your money

5 hours ago   ·  2
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Again come on! This is no way to live😠

9 hours ago   ·  1
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Thavanh Vongkeo

7 hours ago
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Lean Pil share with your philly friends

5 hours ago
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David Seng

7 hours ago
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What about Stockton???? My brother in law check in march!!!! What should he do???

6 hours ago

2 Replies

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I am an immigration attorney and I was at immigration court today. I represented four individuals, all from Vietnam, all legal permanent residents with old crimes and recent entries to the U.S. I echo the suggestions above. If you have a removal/deportation order, if you have a history of crimes, if you plan on traveling outside of the U.S., speak with an immigration attorney.

2 hours ago
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Devon Lernsdale

3 hours ago

1 Reply

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This is crazy... the group just left and they starting again already😡

7 hours ago
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Do we have information on Massachusetts?

8 hours ago

2 Replies

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Pechta Sok

5 hours ago
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Molly Mall

1 hour ago
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The Cambodian and Viet communities are again targeted by US militarism-police abuse: from being attacked and displaced in the war in Indochina to becoming refugees to living in US ghetto-conditions to jail now to deportation. This is generational torture by imperialism. Like the Central American exodus the US exports war and guns, imports labor via refugees, over polices them and deports people, and so the cycle continues. I am so sad and sick. I take actions at rallies and make donations to express my rage and solidarity but where do I put the sadness.

7 hours ago   ·  7

2 Replies

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Don’t Check it,go somewhere n live off the land, if your gon get deported anyway

4 hours ago
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