ACLU’s “Freedom Cities” plan brings local grassroots activists together and provides a blueprint for local-level campaigns, in cities and counties, to defend our communities and block the worst abuses of the Trump administration. The ACLU supports advocacy for what we’re calling “Freedom Cities.” These are cities that are committed to not cooperating with the president’s mass deportation agenda. These cities may also be taking steps to protect people who could be unjustly targeted by this administration’s negative policies on LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, religious liberty, or free speech. Our team and People Power volunteers are pushing for local law enforcement and elected officials to agree to:
- Not ask people about immigration status.
- Decline to engage in the enforcment of immigration law, which is solely the responsibility of the federal government.
- Refuse to detain immigrants on behalf of the federal government unless there is a warrant signed by a judge.
The ACLU has developed nine model policies that cities, and their police departments, should adopt in order to move toward becoming a Freedom City. If you have questions about Freedom Cities in Arizona, start with the frequently asked questions below.
What is a 287(g) agreement? Are there any in Arizona?
The Section 287(g) program allows certain state and local law enforcement agencies to engage in federal immigration enforcement activities. The ACLU has strongly opposed the 287(g) program, believing the delegation of immigration enforcement authority to local law enforcement has led to illegal racial profiling and civil rights abuses while also diverting scarce resources from traditional local law enforcement functions. Four jurisdictions, including the Arizona Department of Corrections, have signed 287(g) agreements with the federal government so that local law enforcement officers in jails can take on federal immigration duties. Departments participating in the 287(g) agreement are the City of Mesa Police Department, the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, and the Pinal County Sheriff's Office. More information about the 287(g) program, including links to the Memorandum of Agreements between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and these four Arizona law enforcement entities, is available on the ICE website.
What is SB 1070? How does this law affect the Freedom Cities campaign?
SB 1070 is a immigration-related bill passed by the Arizona Legislature in 2010. This discriminatory law authorized law enforcement to demand papers proving citizenship or immigration status from anyone they lawfully stop and suspect of being in the country without authorization. The ACLU and the U.S. Department of Justice sued to block the law and much of it has been struck down. You can read more about provisions of the law that have been blocked by the courts here.
Two harmful provisions of the law remain in effect, however. Section 2(B) is known as the “show me your papers provision.” This provision requires police to make a reasonable attempt, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of anyone who is lawfully stopped when the officer has “reasonable suspicion” the person stopped is not in the U.S. with proper documentation. Section 2(D) allows, but does not require, law enforcement officers to transport undocumented immigrants to federal custody.
SB 1070 may present challenges to People Power volunteers in Arizona fighting for Freedom Cities, but we can still win major improvements to how our police departments treat immigrants! Law enforcement officials may hide behind SB 1070, using it as an excuse to oppose changing their current immigration-related policies and practices. However, local police are able to implement the requested Freedom Cities changes without violating state law. The ACLU of Arizona has reviewed the nine model Freedom Cities policies to ensure they do not violate state law. Please refer to the ACLU of Arizona's Freedom Cities Nine Model Policies page for more information.
What if my police department says they have a practice of not making inquiries about immigration status but the department does not have an official immigration-related policy memorializing that practice?
You may want to ask the police department or city/county council to formally adopt a law or regulation to ensure the department's good practices are preserved. Contact the ACLU of Arizona for guidance.
Should I coordinate with other People Power activists in my area so that we can all attend meetings with local law enforcement officials together?
Connecting with People Power activists in your area who may request meetings with the same law enforcement officials is a great idea. The ACLU National People Power website may be a helpful tool for coordination. And you can always check the People Power map to see when other, nearby Poeople Power groups are meeting. If you have any questions about how to connect with other People Power activists in your area, please contact the ACLU of Arizona.
Where can I learn more about People Power, or find the Resistance Training Action Guide and Nine Model Law Enforcement Policies?
ACLU National provides background material about People Power and the Freedom Cities campaign here. The ACLU of Arizona has also prepared Arizona-specific materials. You can find the Arizona People Power Toolkit here. The Nine Model Law Enforcement Polices for Freedom Cities adapted for Arizona are available here.
Where can I access the March 11, 2017, People Power launch webstream?
People Power launched in March 2017 with a nationwide live-stream from Miami, Florida. You can watch the launch on YouTube.