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Local ACLU Vice Chair Calls for Community Opposition to Immigration Bill
by Steve Pleich
Saturday Sep 14th, 2013 1:35 PM
HR 2278 The Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act is Poor Policy
Individually and as Vice Chair of the Santa Cruz County Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, I applaud the efforts of Members of Congress who have been working tirelessly to create bipartisan legislation to address the fundamental problems of our broken immigration system and to provide a pathway to citizenship for the nearly 11.5 million undocumented immigrants currently living and working in the United States. However, I must stand opposed to House of Representatives Bill 2278, The SAFE Act, on a number of grounds.

In its present draft form, HR 2278 focuses on immigration enforcement that will increase detentions and deportations and will create an environment of rampant racial profiling without addressing the fundamental flaws in our present immigration system. This bill would, among other things, allow states and localities to enact their own immigration enforcement laws, similar to SB1070, criminalize authorized presence and make transporting someone who is known to be undocumented (in a way that furthers his/her illegal presence) a federal crime.

I believe there is an urgent need to mobilize around opposition to this bill and urge local community groups to support this position by publicly opposing the bill. The requirements of the bill would make fulfilling the primary duty of local law enforcement much more difficult through affirmative reporting requirements and conditioning federal funding on the enforcement of immigration laws. Additionally, the proposed legislation substantially blurs the already indistinct line between local law enforcement and federally mandated and regulated immigration enforcement.

I call for community opposition to H.R. 2278 because the bill proposes expenditures that would wastefully and irrationally expand unnecessary immigration enforcement at the expense of civil rights and civil liberties. I urge individual members of the community and community groups of all political persuasions to stand with the ACLU on this issue. But just as importantly, I ask the community to join with me in supporting legislation that does not create additional and unnecessary enforcement procedures and which does provide for a comprehensive approach to immigration reform, including a path to citizenship and substantive changes to existing detention and enforcement practices.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

but seemingly terrified of sticking your toes in local politics and taking on the groups supporting the oppression of public space?

Is it easier to oppose something not in your backyard. Or are local forces just too scary to stand up to?
by Steve Pleich
Saturday Sep 14th, 2013 7:57 PM
In case it escaped your attention, Comprehensive Immigration Reform is a major issue in a county that is more than 30% Latino/Hispanic. In addition to which, Latinos in the City of Santa Cruz are regularly profiled and subsequently deported. Fighting restrictive local ordinances is important work, but defending citizens against the loss of their liberty is a better place for my efforts. Check out the Secure Communities Program if you want to look at a locally applied program that is wholly indefensible.
by shopper
Sunday Sep 15th, 2013 12:54 AM
so getting local latinos to vote for you doesn't hurt.

on the other hand, local aclu mounting a campaign against local forces of public space oppression would incur that wrath of the very electorate you desperately need to get put in office.
by G
Sunday Sep 15th, 2013 9:56 AM
I support immigration reform too. Decolonize.

I would caution ANY oppressed group interested in supporting Pleich for office, if they are also concerned with being milked for yet another campaign and then tossed in the 'lesser things to do' bin.
by Sylvia
Sunday Sep 15th, 2013 10:49 AM
I read the Warren Institute’s findings. which conclude that Operation Streamline is not an effective means of improving border security or reducing undocumented immigration. HR 2278 triples funding for this ineffective program.

Now I have a question but I don't know where to ask it. The CA courts are not streamlining in the same way, seem to be more effectively going after gangs and smugglers. Yet gang activity in Santa Cruz is increasing. So is the path here via the other border states that are prosecuting differently leaking more danger more widely? Some of the gang activity seems to be mid-state,
stolen property sales in Fresno, … .
by Robert Norse
Monday Sep 16th, 2013 8:09 AM
There is also some discussion of this issue on Steve Pleich's website at Citizens for a Better Santa Cruz facebook page ( ).

Pleich posted that I was permanently banned from the page for posting a link to the revealing and abusive Ken Collins video ( ).

Ken “Skindog” Collins wrote: “FYI- Nobody is on TBSC is talking BS about CITIZENS FOR A BETTER SANTA CRUZ. Yet there is a lot of BS being talked about TBSC from this group. Hmmmmmm interesting.”

I responded: "Has TBSC commented on your behavior in the Clean Team video posted at ? I mention it because your aggressive attack on the homeless guy seemed to be to just the kind of attitude that some TBSC members have had--as well as reflecting the kind of "criminalize the homeless" laws and policies they've been pushing. I wrote you about this privately and you never responded. Here's your chance!”

Pleich then wrote: “I told Robert directly that I would not permit the video to be posted to this page. However, because he is more interested in stirring up s*** that he is in thoughtful, constructive discussion, he ignored my advisement. He is, therefor, permanently banned from this page.”

Collins' comments on another thread criticizing Councilwoman Pamela Constock's anti-homeless mentality are at . Mine was a response to point out Collins's documented (and apparently unapologetic) thuggery towards homeless people as a member of The Clean Team. Indybay has recognized and highlighted some of the more prominent unsavory connections TBSC has had at .

Pleich's strong punitive response, I think, shows great concern with offending members of TBSC (and perhaps City Council). Looks like part of the perennial "move to the right" impulse that politicians seeking power descend into to remain attractive to the mainstream and woo supporters. Perhaps of questionable value because it elevates trolling to the status of respectable dialogue. What's really revealing is when Pleich bans strong criticism on the left.

It's also an authoritarian and hypersensitive overreaction. And it makes Steve's claim not to censor his website look ridiculous. It does reflect the corrosive impact of the current right-wing "Public Safety" mythology, which has its "talk nice while we trash the poor" side as well. Pleich perhaps feels he has to jump on board or be left behind. Which is what he's also been doing as "vice-chair of the ACLU)--see the buried story "Local ACLU Again!" at .

Obviously folks should oppose H.R. 2278. That's not an issue. But to wrapping yourself in popular-in-Santa-Cruz issues while ignoring or obstructing action and debate on unpopular but vital local correlates to those issues (i.e. the immigrants as abused homeless people here) is a form of opportunistic hypocrisy.

Indybay buried a story in its bottom-third "doghouse" section (though the story is obviously Local and relevant) about this at (Open Leter to Steve Pleich of Citizens for a Better Santa Cruz").

There's also, I'm told a protest urging Rep. Sam Farr to oppose TPP (another NAFTA-like measure) 4-6 PM on the steps of the County Courthouse tomorrow (9-17).
Steve makes a point of participating in causes around town. That some would then 'turn on him', as he attempts to climb the local ladder of power and influence, leads to application of metaphors (like the classic 'crabs in a bucket'). Especially given the lack of viable electable alternatives.

Personally, if Steve were less prone to 'standing on the shoulders of victims', I would be more supportive of his campaigns for power and influence (you too, Ed). Not that my support (and associated baggage) would be of much help! This lack of support could, in a strange way, be an encouraging signal to those that approve of the 'Don Lane approach to homeless politics', as though Steve might be 'their kind of guy' because he disappoints people like me (and possibly more influentially, people like the infamous Norse!), and could be counted on to sell out when needed. In this light, annoying us and courting groups like TBSC makes campaign sense, for a local ACLU member, and politician.

Of course, this 'turning' is also a signal of caution to future potential exploiters.

Win win?
by G
Monday Sep 30th, 2013 5:59 AM
Given rumors that the controversial Steve Schlicht has 'endorsed' the pliable Steve Pleich; what else can be done to help pliable Pleich mount the 'Don Lane sellout' brand, thereby assuring electorial quid pro quo with TBSC?