ACLU/SC Staff Attorney Lucero Chavez submitted the following letter to Anna Hinken, Non-Governmental Office (NGO) Liaison at U.S Customs and Border Protection.
Ms. Hinken,
We write to express our strong concern that, in targeting day laborers Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) is undermining the stated priorities of the President and his Administration. Instead of expending resources on those who pose a threat to the safety and security of our country, these operations are separating day laborers from their families and deepening the mistrust between vulnerable communities and law enforcement.
On January 28, 2012 various organizations and individuals signed onto a letter [attached] highlighting the priorities of the Administration and questioning the operations of Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) leadership following a series of raids on day laborer corners in and around the Home Gardens (Corona) area. In the days following the raids, community organizations held a press conference to bring to light the testimony of affected individuals and ask that the agency that carried out the operations come forward, as no one to date has, and meet with concerned organizations and community members.
The right of individuals to express their availability for work on public sidewalks is well established. Comite de Jornaleros de Redondo Beach v. Redondo Beach, 657 F.3d 936 (9th Cir. 2011) (en banc). The protections of the Fourth and Fifth amendment to the United States Constitution, the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and not be denied liberty without due process, are not protections to be disregarded lightly. Customs and Border Patrol agents and officials are not free to disregard the constitutional requirements of reasonable suspicion and probable cause when carrying out actions and operations.
On behalf of and at the request of community members and organization, the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California (ACLU/SC) and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) reiterate their call for an investigation into the previous and continued raids and targeting of individuals exercising their first amendment rights and ask that the responsible agency come forward.
As the liaison to non-governmental organizations we ask that you provide a timeline for the requested investigation and facilitate a meeting between interested parties. Should you have any questions please contact Lucero Chavez at (714) 450-3962 (ext 101) or
Lucero Chavez Immigrants Rights Attorney ACLU/SC, Orange County Branch Office
Chris Newman Legal Director NDLON