San Jose will consider creating its own immigration office to support residents who may qualify for deportation relief under President Obama's newly expanded immigration policy.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) allows undocumented immigrants who arrived in the US before their 16th birthday and before 2010 to apply for work permits and deportation relief. According to the Pew Research Center, more than 2 million people qualify.
In a joint memo going before the City Council Tuesday, council members Tam Nguyen, Magdalena Carrasco, Raul Peralez and Ash Kalra propose forming an Office of Immigration Services to engage with the immigrant community as more people apply for federal amnesty. The new office could help local immigrants apply for work permits through the federal law and support immigrant entrepreneurship.
"The city has a wide variety of resources that could be utilized to educate the immigrant community about administrative relief," the council members write. "Libraries, community centers, and other city facilities could be put to use as part of this effort. Rather than relying on outside agencies and organizations to take on all the work, let us see how we, as the city, can contribute to immigration services with our current city resources."
They also suggest a welcome ordinance, to outline the various support services for immigrant residents, a plan to coordinate with other public agencies and nonprofits and apply for grants. Santa Clara County is working on a similar plan.
The proposal piggybacks off of a memo from last fall, penned by then-Councilman Sam Liccardo, then-Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen and Councilman Johnny Khamis, which directed the city to prepare for a flood of inquiries from thousands of San Jose residents who qualify for deportation relief. Liccardo said the city should look at how it can help with the following tasks:
- Referring residents to competent legal service organizations and government offices.
- Tracking and exposing people and organizations who exploit vulnerable immigrants.
- Reaching out to immigrant families to make sure they take advantage of the new federal law.
- Finding grant money to support those efforts and to help immigrant-run businesses navigate the city's permitting process.
"The extraordinary potential for rising living standards for thousands of our families should give all of us in City Hall ample incentive to assist members of our community in navigating this process," Liccardo, Nguyen and Khamis wrote.
More from the San Jose City Council agenda for Jan. 13, 2015:
- North America's shale-drilling boom has flooded pipeline networks, forcing companies to transport oil by train. Oil train traffic has jumped 42-fold in the past five years. The surge has raised concerns that moving oil tankers through populated areas could imperil certain communities, threatening them with spills, fires and air pollution. Councilman Ash Kalra says San Jose should oppose the Phillips 66 rail spur expansion in San Luis Obispo because it would further increase oil train traffic through San Jose.
- Interim District 4 Councilwoman Margie Matthews will be sworn in. She will hold the seat until a newly elected council member takes office in August.
- San Jose will apply for a $250,000 grant to resurface some roads with rubberized asphalt, which is mixed with recycled tire crumbs to make for a quieter drive. Streets on the list pending approval for the CalRecycle grant include Vista Park Drive, River Oaks Parkway, Foxworthy Avenue, Keyes Street and Mabury Road.
- From now on the city auditor will report audits to the specific council committee with jurisdiction over the subject. Until now, audits were always reported to the Public Safety, Finance and Strategic Support Committee. Also, the city will increase the size of the Rules and Open Government Committee from four to five members.
- Mayor Sam Liccardo "heartily" recommends Councilwoman Rose Herrera as vice mayor.