On Tuesday, August 23rd, 2022, over 340 faith leaders from across California and the United States will deliver a letter to Governor Newsom urging him to champion the VISION Act (AB 937) and sign the bill when it reaches his desk. 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.
Thousands of immigrants each year have been subject to cruel and inhumane conditions when transferred from jails and state prisons into ICE detention centers, which have been shown to be rife with neglect and abuse. Immigrant community members who have completed a jail or prison sentence should not be doubly punished by ICE detention and possible deportation.
In the letter, the faith leaders share “Though we are people from multiple faith traditions, we share a set of common beliefs that we, as humans, are capable of error, but also of redemption, forgiveness and transformation. We know that with honesty, hard work, recognizing root causes and proper support, people are capable of change. It is unfair to transfer, deport and exile a person with a conviction for an offense committed decades or years ago, for which the person has served time and earned release.”
Rev. Noel Andersen, of Church World Service in Washington, DC, states that “As people of faith and consciousness, we are called to support the immigrant community and prevent harm and suffering caused by unfair and unjust policies. The California legislature has a moral responsibility to pass the VISION Act to help stop the ways criminalization and double punishment has harshly impacted far too many lives and wrongfully separated families. The people who have transformed their lives and completed their sentences should be able to return home to their loved ones immediately.”
Rev. Deborah Lee, of Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, states “Beloved community members, such as Phoeun You, a Cambodian refugee and genocide survivor who was recently deported by ICE, have not only made amends and transformed their lives, but become community leaders who others look to and learn from. They are family members, role models, friends, caretakers and mentors who their communities need at home.”
Download the faith letter urging Governor Gavin Newsom to take action to sign the VISION Act.
Email or Call Gov. Gavin Newsom (916) 445-2841 to urge him to sign the CA VISION Act (Even those outside California can call!)
“My name is ____ and I represent ____ (organization, or city/county where you live). I am calling urging you to sign the VISION Act to protect refugee and immigrant communities, stop people from being doubly punished, and permanently separated from their families. AB937 would protect refugee and immigrant community members, who have already been deemed eligible for release from being funneled by local jails and our state prison system into immigration detention.
Over the past few years, we have accomplished much together toward the goal of liberating our communities. We wanted to share a list of 10 major victories we’ve won, recognizing that each of these is the result of the contributions and commitments of so many. As we look ahead to the work to come, let us ground ourselves in the joy of remembering what is possible when we join together.