A voice for immigrants

In the absence of a path to citizenship, the community must speak up for our undocumented neighbors

We were pleasantly surprised to see the Butte County Board of Supervisors pass on an effort to designate our region as a place of non-sanctuary for undocumented immigrants. As CN&R’s Ken Smith reports this week (see page 10), after discussion from Kory Honea, the county’s law-degree-holding sheriff, that issue never came to a vote.

Unsurprisingly, the non-sanctuary movement started in the axis of the State of Jefferson—first with our neighbors to the north, Tehama County, then up in Siskiyou County. It seems those North State regions have fallen for President Trump’s false narrative that undocumented immigrants are dangerous criminals, a notion countered by FBI crime statistics.

We don’t think any good would come out of such a designation—here or anywhere else. In fact, as the sheriff noted when he discussed the issue with our Board of Supervisors, non-sanctuary status has the potential to harm local law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with undocumented individuals who might be the victims of or witnesses to actual crimes.

As CN&R wrote in opposition to the non-sanctuary movement a few weeks ago (see “A craven designation,” March 2), we believe our elected representatives ought to acknowledge the valuable contributions undocumented immigrants make to our community—whether in agriculture, construction, manufacturing or service industries.

We as a community must speak up for them as well as the many children they brought here in pursuit of a better life. CN&R intern Gabriel Sandoval tracked down two such individuals for this week’s excellent cover story on the young people who are temporarily shielded from deportation by Obama-era DACA protections (see “Chasing the dream,” page 18). The two young women he interviewed are academic overachievers who grew up in the United States, yet are now living with an uncertain future thanks to Trump’s nativist rhetoric and subsequent immigration crackdown.

They have been failed by federal lawmakers’ inability to pass comprehensive immigration reform that would provide a path to citizenship for people who are an integral part of the nation’s economy and culture. And they deserve better.