For Immediate Release
Link to PDF Version
Tuesday, August 16th, 2022
Nineteen Orange County Elected Officials Call on State Senators to Support the VISION Act
19 Orange County elected officials including the Mayors of Santa Ana, Irvine, and Buena Park join the call to urge State Senators Umberg, Newman, and Min to strengthen protections for immigrants and refugees from deportation by supporting the VISION Act.
Orange County, CA – On Tuesday, August 16th, 19 Orange County elected officials sent a letter to State Senators Tom Umberg, Josh Newman, and Dave Min urging them to vote yes on AB 937 – the VISION Act (Voiding Inequality and Seeking Inclusion for our Immigrant Neighbors). The VISION Act would end California’s voluntary practice of transferring immigrants and refugees who have been deemed eligible for release from state or local custody or earned parole to ICE detention.
“The VISION Act is the next step toward a vision of California where we set the example for equality under the law that must include immigrants and refugees,” the elected officials state in the letter sent to the Senators on Tuesday. “It is how we can continue to make our way forward together. Orange County must continue on our path of progress.”
The VISION Act would expand protections from deportation for immigrant and refugee communities in Orange County, who make up nearly one-third of the County’s population. The bill passed in the State Assembly and the Senate’s Public Safety, Judiciary, and Appropriations committees last year. It is now awaiting a vote in the Senate floor with no commitments so far from Orange County Senators that they will support the bill.
“People who are not born in this country continue to be treated differently by the state’s criminal legal system,” said Tracy La, Executive Director of VietRISE. “Instead of being released when they should be, incarcerated immigrants and refugees are double punished and sent to ICE detention. This is a human rights violation. The VISION Act will end this practice of double punishment.”
“Upon my release from state prison, I was handcuffed, shackled, and transferred to the Adelanto ICE Detention Center where I spent over 10 months fighting my detention for my freedom. A freedom that was granted to me by the Board of Prison Terms, and affirmed by the Governor, deeming that I am fit to reenter society. Countless others are continuing to be transferred when they should be free to reunite with their families, and the VISION Act will afford them the protection needed to avoid such double punishment,” said Tin Nguyen, constituent of Senator Umberg and Vietnamese refugee.
In the letter, the elected officials address the former Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant efforts to undermine California and Orange County’s milestone achievements in advancing civil rights for immigrants in 2018. Specifically, the letter reminds state Senators of the nativist lawsuit against California’s SB 54, the state’s sanctuary law, and of the Trump administration’s collusion with certain Orange County city councils to pass anti-sanctuary resolutions against SB 54. Instead, as a call to action, the undersigned elected officials are calling on OC’s state senators to reject the scapegoating rhetoric of the Trump years and take the next step in what they call “the constitutional right to equal justice” for immigrants and refugees by passing the VISION Act.
“Our communities have long been targeted by anti-immigrant sentiment and immigration enforcement in Orange County. It is time for our State Senators to take action and ensure that all immigrant and refugee communities are protected,” said Carlos Perea, Director of the Harbor Institute for Immigrant and Economic Justice.
The VISION Act is supported by the California Democratic Party, the Santa Ana City Council, the Black, Latino, and API Legislative Caucuses, and over 180 faith, civil rights, and community based organizations across the state. A UC San Diego poll found that a majority of voters across the political spectrum support the VISION Act.