With the increased threat of raids by agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, more commonly known as ICE, there was a higher than usual turnout for the Rapid Responder training in Sunnyvale on July 8.
Nearly 50 people attended the information session at Sunnyvale Community Services.
“We’re trying to be a service to the community if they or someone they know is approached by an ICE agent and what their rights are,” said Sunnyvale Community Services Director of Development and Communications Tom Hamilton. “We have clients who may or may not be affected by a situation…Clients or friends of a client.”
Rapid Responder training teaches people what to do if they spot ICE agents in their neighborhood. Rapid Responders are given a phone number to call and other advice depending on their specific situation.
The information session was put on by People Acting in a Community Together (PACT), which calls itself a “…multi-faith, grassroots organization that provides leadership training and experience to community members of many different ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds. Through PACT, people work together to solve the most pervasive social problems of our day.”
According to the PACT flyer, “The Rapid Response Network aims to expand the community’s capacity to monitor and document ICE operations if Immigration Customs Enforcement comes to your work, home or a family member is detained.”
“We’re not taking a position on it, we’re just offering a space for those who want to know more on the subject so they can learn from people who deal with it every day,” said Hamilton. “This is another community service we’d like to offer.”
President Donald Trump promised ICE agents would begin raids after July 4th to find immigrants with criminal convictions and immigrants previously slated for deportation. In response, many groups including PACT held rallies to protest the planned raids.
PACT and members of Santa Clara County’s Rapid Response Network protested outside the ICE field office in Morgan Hill on July 12. Both groups worked through the weekend to be prepared for the ICE raids that were supposed to start on July 14, but by the end of the weekend, nothing had happened.
If the raids do happen, it would not be the first time ICE conducted raids in the Bay Area. In March of 2018, 232 people were arrested in Northern California during a four-day operation by ICE. A number of those arrested were from the South Bay Area.
Santa Clara County’s Rapid Response Network has a rolling schedule of training events throughout the county. For more information, visit www.pactsj.org.
There is also another information session planned at the Sunnyvale Community Services offices in August.