San Francisco’s mass transit operator, Bay Area Rapid Transit, reassured its riders Thursday that it will not allow immigration raids aboard its vehicles or target applicants seeking a job with the agency.
BART’s board passed the Safe Transit Policy which prohibits the use of its funds or resources to enforce federal immigration law. The resolution “bans employees from seeking riders’ immigration status, limits the cooperation of employees with federal authorities in conducting immigration checks and arrests, and prevents BART from asking job applicants about their immigration status,” according to the Huffington Post.
Transit agencies in Chicago and in Portland, Oregon, have adopted similar measures to assure riders that employees will not enforce immigration laws or engage in raids.
The resolution approved on Thursday was introduced in March by board member Lateefah Simon, whose campaign for the position asserted that safe access to transportation is an issue of social and economic justice.
Arguing in support of the measure during a Thursday hearing at BART’s Oakland headquarters, Alameda Public Defender Raha Jorjani said encountering Immigrations Customs Enforcement can take a physical and emotional toll on people’s health.
“We’re talking about the health, well-being and civility of families,” Jorjani said. “In the Bay Area, specifically, our office has noticed a distinct rise in the presence and enforcement of ICE operations. There are few spaces left that are safe, and a space that is as important as BART simply must be one of them.”
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