San Jose City Council Could Create Local Immigration Office

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.

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


    • What an insult to American citizens.

      > council members Tam Nguyen, Magdalena Carrasco, Raul Peralez and Ash Kalra propose forming an Office of Immigration Services

      This is San Jose, United States of America.

      If these people want to provide constituent services for citizens of Viet Nam, Mexico, or India, let them run for city council in Saigon, Mexico City, or Bombay.

      When is someone from this crowd going to ask the question: “Why do millions of people want to LEAVE Mexico?”

      Enabling poor desperate Mexicans to leave Mexico and become a burden on American society is simply diminishing America and enabling the Mexican corruptocracy.

      If the Mexicans flooding over the border are warm, wonderful human beings with the potential to make America better, the also have the potential to make Mexico better.

      Don’t the immigration big hearts on the city council want Mexico to be better?

      Isn’t it greedy and selfish for the big hearts to lure away Mexico’s future from Mexico and condemn Mexican society to eternal peonage and corruption?

      • Normally, I think you’re an idoitic buffoon.. But that was, in part, freakin’ hilarious!

        Unfortunately, outside of Jalisco and the coastal resorts on Mexico’s Pacific coast, there isn’t much of an economy outside of the drug & human trade… Soooo they come here and take low level jobs..

        The conundrum becomes, would you rather these people continue to be a “burden” to our society, or would you rather they be designated a place and serve some sort of a purpose?

        Personally, I feel the way things are set up, it is too easy for ALL illegal immigrants in this country to continue to take advantage of the lack of oversight, essentially fly under the radar and take advantage of their position. If they were given more “incentives” to become part of some documentation program (i.e. licenses), we could begin to have some basis to enforce laws that won’t enrage the NAACP, find our illegals a bettet place in society, and slowly convert them into assets rather than “burdens.”

        • > or would you rather they be designated a place and serve some sort of a purpose?

          How about designating Mexico as a place for them, and their purpose to be being happy, productive citizens of Mexico.

          You got something against Mexico? Do you think you’re better than Mexico? Are you some kind of supremacist?

  1. I believe there should be a office for immigrant services.

    Raul, Tam, Ash have clean hands,


    Ms. Carrasco

    Given that your campaigns were funded entirely by

    a) immigrant attorneys from another city

    b) outside groups

    c) friends of your non husband DELEON,

    don’t you think you have a conflict of interest?

  2. Hello there council members. Our streets are the worst in the Bay area, our parks are in terrible condition, our libraries have the lowest hours of many nationwide, can you please for once leave your elected egos at the door and fix immediate issues before you try and make a name for yourselves and waste staff time?

    • …and there are Fire Houses that are unstaffed,…and a police sub-station that is about 75% unoccupied (I guess it could house this unnecessary immigration office once it is shoved in the taxpayers face…)

  3. “Libraries, community centers, and other city facilities could be put to use as part of this effort.”

    If our libraries and community centers are so under used that they are in fact available for use by illegal aliens, then maybe we should cut their hours and close some of them in order to divert the funds to the needs of San Jose’s grossly underserved legal residents.

    Let Obama pay for his Latin-American army of infestation.

  4. Can we work on restoring vital City Services to a level we enjoyed before the politicians started screwing things BEFORE we start taking on new projects that really are the responsibility of other government agencies?

  5. “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.” And Santa Clara County is already working on a similar plan… as are the above outside agencies and organizations.

    With all staffing problems this City currently has, including a woefully understaffed Police Dept, unacceptable response times, and a burglary unit of one investigator and now a disbanded Metro unit, this is what our Mayor and Council consider to be our biggest priority? And do this with the City’s current resources?! You have got to be kidding. Residents need to speak up about this.

    City staff can barely keep their heads above water already, without now creating a new department to deal with a segment that is already provided for by other sources.

  6. Every dollar spent on this is a dollar not spent on public safety, our roads, library hours, etc. This is not the City’s issue to fix.

  7. > to engage with the immigrant community

    By the way. Who or what is “the immigrant community”?

    Do they have names? Addresses? Telephone numbers? Jobs? Passports? Citizenship papers? Tax returns?

    How do we know that “the immigrant community” isn’t just a computer server in Nigeria or North Korea trying to hack into the social services gravy train or scoop up privacy data on citizens or city employees?

    • “The immigrant community”. That’s the politically correct term for those here illegally; just as “right to life” is the PC term for anti-abortion and “a woman’s right to choose” is the PC term for pro-abortion. Calling “a spade a spade” went out of use decades ago. Just look at the titles of many CA initiatives–designed carefully to cover up the true purpose of the initiative. Immigrants here legally don’t need any of the “services” this proposed new office is intended to provide.

      • > Immigrants here legally don’t need any of the “services” this proposed new office is intended to provide.

        Well then, wouldn’t it be more honest to call the new program the “Office of Illegal Immigration Services”?

        Oh, wait. We’re talking about politicians here.

        Silly me.

  8. Can the City of San Jose help with other legal problems like taxes, divorce……the list goes on…..why limit to immigration?

  9. I was walking down town this morning, and was crossing the cement yard next to the Bird Cage at City Hall.
    I had a thought about the City Manager’s Office dysfunctional displays.
    A thought came to me!
    San Jose Politics is our next ghetto!
    Sal Si Puedes, does not apply here!
    Sal Tu Eres !
    Yo Soy Y Que?

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