San Mateo County supervisors voted last week to stop using taxpayer resources to assist U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in their quest to deport undocumented people who, regardless of their immigration status, are human beings worthy of community support. While that may not be a surprise in the liberal Bay Area, it might surprise you to know there is opposition to the ordinance as written and some of it comes from ardent champions of Coastside immigrants.

The ordinance passed 4-1 and the lone dissenter was Supervisor Ray Mueller, who represents the coast and is keenly aware of the prevailing inclination to protect farmworkers and others who might be in the U.S. without legal documentation. He says he supports the concept, but that the ordinance needs to carve out some exceptions. Specifically, Mueller would have the county cooperate with ICE when it comes to convicted murderers, rapists and child molesters.

Which is where it gets interesting. No one has ever been voted out of office for coming down hard on murderers, rapists and child molesters. But around here at least, no one has ever been voted out of office for opposing Gestapo tactics of ICE either. That dichotomy has caused divisions among well-meaning people who have impeccable credentials with our immigrant populations.

On the facing page, you will read a letter signed by Puente Executive Director Rita Mancera — and co-signed by about 60 social justice groups active in the Bay Area — denouncing any cooperation with federal immigration officials they say undermine relations between local authorities and immigrants and, worse, rip apart families and terrorize communities. There are other people active with local immigrant populations, notably Half Moon Bay City Councilman Joaquin Jimenez, who say that view discounts the trauma felt by victims of these most loathsome crimes. Jimenez says the Latino people he represents demand that everyone respect the laws of the land, as they don’t want to be terrorized by brazen criminals any more than they want to be visited by jackbooted government agents.

While the two viewpoints might seem irreconcilable, they both result from a broken immigration policy that leaves local officials to protect marginalized communities who are victimized by crime and the government. Thoughtful people have come to different conclusions about sanctuary policies in general and this one in particular.

On balance, we think the greater good comes from taking a stand for families and against irrational federal policy that changes from administration to administration and has repeatedly victimized untold families throughout the county. No one wants to live among murderers, child abusers and rapists, of any color or nationality. But they number in the handful, whereas hundreds of Coastsiders live in constant fear of ICE agents swooping in in the dead of night to tear out the beating heart of our community.

Let’s do both things. Let’s honor victims and convict predators. Give criminals the sentences they deserve. And let’s protect all of us from federal overreach. Mueller should read Mancera’s heartfelt letter and change his vote on second reading.

Clay Lambert is the editorial director for Coastside News Group. After years working at regional daily newspapers, he began as editor of the Half Moon Bay Review in 2004.

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(7) comments

Sabrina Brennan

I was disappointed by Joaquin Jimenez's remarks in support of Supervisor Ray Mueller at the April 25, 2023 county board meeting held in Redwood City.

I was shocked by cruel, divisive, cynical, racist hate speech coming from Supervisor Ray Mueller. His remarks perpetuate white nationalist propaganda at the expense of our Latina/Latino/Latinx community including service workers and Coastal farmworkers.

By doubling down on entitled, bigoted, racist language Ray has lost the trust of over 60 advocacy organizations including the NAACP San Mateo County branch. He’s also lost the trust of many in the local community.

I’m shocked by the cruel, divisive, cynical, racist hate speech coming from Supervisor Ray Mueller. His remarks perpetuate white nationalist propaganda at the expense of our Latinx community including service workers and Coastal farmworkers.

By doubling down on entitled, bigoted, racist language Ray has lost the trust of over 60 advocacy organizations including the NAACP San Mateo County branch. He’s also lost the trust of the local community.

kiosk

Dear MS Brennan: "It's better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt."

John Charles Ullom

Or just be a gutless coward and use a fake name so that nobody can know who is proving they are stupid.

But....I think that Jimenez and Muller got this one right. I need to hear what was actually said but the notion of allowing the sheriff to cooperate with ICE so as to remove a Rapist or a Murderer from our society seems pretty commonsensical.

Just like in all groups, there are some undocumented immigrants that should not be tolerated. We don't need a BAN on doing what is right.

kiosk

I stand by my comments. You can think or say anything that you want.

John Charles Ullom

Thank you kiosk for your permission.

John Charles Ullom

Gestapo tactics? Really? I think “we” at the Review is resorting to the same tactic as the talking heads on cable TV. Not a good look for”we”. Not a very good way to spur reasonable discussion.

So, does anybody here support the Gestapo?

Cid Young

John, There was plenty of race-baiting comments made by Supervisor Canepa including accusing Ray Mueller of being from "privileged" Menlo Park. Talk about Dog Whistles, what about the words of Supervisor Canepa: (beginning at 3:17:13)?

“Let me tell you this: Where you live in Menlo Park, it is the Latino Community, all these other communities that makes your kale salad (Audience Applause); when it comes to your white linen tables where you eat, we’re preparing your food; were picking your produce. You want to vilify us; you want to vilify us. You don’t know anything. I’m sorry; My wife is the Consul General of El Salvador, for fifteen years, Okay? And you come up here and you use your privilege, and you do it around an amendment that never should have happened. I’m disappointed in you, as a person. I’ve lost respect for you. Because you’re dividing the Community and dividing the Latino Community as we speak.”

And, President Pine did nothing to bring back the meeting decorum. Furthermore, they hid that section of the meeting video under Agenda item 12, instead of airing the entire meeting video in full. Here is the Link: https://sanmateocounty.granicus.com/player/clip/1189?view_id=1&redirect=true&h=f8bd9c06ab47379b4e39a03710414adb

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