A network of “well-to-do” and “economically and educationally advantaged” Californians are joining rapid response networks to protect illegal immigrants from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), “leveraging” their “white privilege” for social justice.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, rapid response networks are in full effect in Santa Clara, East Bay, Alameda County, and San Francisco. And another is reportedly set to launch in Contra Costa in March. Many of the responders are reportedly well-off whites.
ICE activity is usually “reported to the network’s hotline,” and “nearby volunteers receive text alerts from dispatchers with a location and basic details.” Rapid response team leaders told the Mercury News that “as many as 30 volunteers have responded to a single alert,” and “about six volunteers respond to each incident, each with a different role to fill, from ICE liaison to note taker.” Groups also reportedly archive all “notes and video obtained from each scene” and analyze them to “see if there are patters in the type of enforcement ICE is carrying out locally.”
The Mercury News profiled the Lynches, an elderly white couple who joined the “extensive, rapidly growing community in the Bay Area and across the country made up of average citizens who have banded together in a mass mobilization after President Trump’s election to send a message to ICE: We’re watching you.” They were reportedly “spurred to action” because they know illegal immigrants who are “fearful of getting deported.” Both Lynches told the paper that they, as older white Californians, are the least likely to have negative consequences showing up to protect illegal immigrants. John Lynch added, “I think of it as leveraging our white privilege.”
The idea for the rapid response network reportedly started at a community forum when illegal immigrants who were worried about possible deportations “said they desperately needed immediate protection and guidance during encounters with ICE.” Rapid responders reportedly have canvas bags with phone chargers, flashlights, and notebooks ready to go at their homes in case they receive alerts.
ICE officials said rapid responders have every right to be present so “long as there’s no physical interaction with the agents,” according to the paper. The immigration enforcement agency audited 77 Northern California business last week, and ICE officials have warned that more checks are on the way across California, which is the nation’s first “sanctuary state.”