On April 25, 2017, the Chula Vista City Council unanimously supported a resolution to affirm city policies regarding immigration enforcement and to join the “Welcoming America” network.The Human Relations Commission currently is coordinating the Welcoming City Certification process.
The action further directed staff to develop and implement a program for better communication of City policies and services to the City’s immigrant community and to provide the City Council with opportunities to actively support or oppose laws to advance city interests and policies on immigration enforcement.
The resolution approved by the City Council included these seven points:
- Consistent with the principles outlined in the Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD) Mission Statement, and in Policy 428 of the CVPD Policy Manual, it is the official policy of the City of Chula Vista (City) that all residents of the City, regardless of their immigration status, shall be entitled to equal enforcement of the law and equal service, and that all shall be treated with fairness, respect and dignity.
- It is the official policy of the City that CVPD contacts and arrests shall not be based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic or immigration status.
- It is the official policy of the City that the CVPD shall not enforce immigration laws.
- It is the official policy of the City that it is the responsibility of the federal government to enforce immigration laws.
- City staff is authorized and directed to develop and implement a program to better communicate the official City policies set forth above to the public, and to better connect City residents in need with available immigration services and City services.
- City staff is authorized and directed to join the “Welcoming America” network to demonstrate that the City values its immigrant and refugee residents and to help them to become a vital part of our economic and civic society.
- City staff is authorized and directed to track and report back to the City Council on federal and state legislation that impacts City interests and policies on immigration enforcement, particularly local control of policing policies, protection of constitutional rights, and availability of funding, with an opportunity for the City Council to actively support or oppose same.
Human Relations Commission
The Human Relations Commission is composed of 11 members appointed to four-year terms. The Commission meets monthly. Its members are residents of Chula Vista and represent community, business, education, advocacy, and other groups.
Paola Martinez-Montes (Chair)
Dalia Gonzalez (Vice Chair)
The Commission is tasked with accomplishing, among other things:
1. The first duty of the Commission shall be to assist the City, by completing all required steps, to become a Certified Welcoming City.
2. The development of a mutual understanding and respect among all such groups in the City and to help eliminate prejudice and discrimination;
3. The establishment and maintenance of contacts with groups in the community which are concerned with protection of civil liberties of all people, resolution of conflict, and interracial and intercultural understanding, and to report to the Mayor, City Council and City Manager regarding the activities of these groups. For more information the Human Relations Commission page.
Communications and Outreach
On May 16, 2018, the City Council approved a Welcoming City Communications Plan that will be implemented to inform residents about the City’s policies, actions and resources regarding the immigrant community.
This Plan is designed to communicate the following goals:
- Increase awareness of City policies regarding immigration
- Assist residents in need to access available immigration services and City services
- Engage the Human Relations Commission to guide communications efforts
The Human Relations Commission has a key role in guiding the implementation of this Plan. Through the Commission, communications efforts will be reviewed and implemented, partner agencies will collaborate, initiatives will be pursued, and results will be evaluated.
Chief of Police Statement
Chula Vista Chief of Police Roxana Kennedy issued the following statement:
The spotlight on the proposed changes in the National immigration policy has caused anxiety and uneasiness in many undocumented individuals fearing arrest and deportation from our community. I want to take the opportunity to put your minds at ease and state that all members of our community matter, regardless of immigration status. The Chula Vista Police Department’s focus is on public safety, not immigration.
The Chula Vista Police Department has long-standing policies in place that are reflective of these values. Per our policy posted on our Department's web page, it is incumbent upon all employees of this department to make a personal commitment to equal service and enforcement of the law to the public regardless of immigration status. If you need assistance, whether you are the victim of a crime, involved in an accident, or a witness to a crime, we want you to call the police with the comfort of knowing your immigration status is not our concern. All individuals, regardless of immigration status, should feel secure that contacting the Chula Vista Police Department will not make you vulnerable to deportation.
I want to emphasize that our police officers do not enforce federal immigration laws. Furthermore, the Chula Vista Police Department does not participate in operations with any federal law enforcement agency for the sole purpose of enforcing immigration laws.
Engaging and working with the community is invaluable to our Department. Our policies are consistent with the best practices of community policing. The members of the Chula Vista Police Department are dedicated public servants who put their community first through some of the most challenging times we have ever faced in law enforcement. As Chief of Police, I could not be prouder to work side by side with the men and women of this Department with the goal of keeping our community safe for ALL individuals.
Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to protect and serve you.