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Disrupting the Prison to Deportation Pipeline: A Recap from the Participatory Defense Crimmigration Lab

By Ana Ramirez Zarate


Editor's Note: Ana Ramirez Zarate shares a recap and short reflection of the recent participatory defense Crimmigration Lab in San Jose where hubs shared how their work and strategies impact families at the intersection of the criminal justice system and the immigration system.

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Participatory defense organizers from around the country gathered at De-Bug to share their experiences navigating the criminal and immigration systems


​​In early December, participatory defense hubs from across the county joined us in San Jose, CA for a Crimmigration Lab. Over the course of 2 days, hubs shared strategies they've used to bring their loved ones home and the tactics they have employed to disrupt the prison to deportation pipeline.


From Orange County, the Orange County Rapid Response Network (OCRRN) shared how through the cases in their hub they were able to bring a lawsuit against the Sheriff’s department exposing their role in transferring community members from local jails to immigration detention. It has been their advocacy that has led to a significant reduction in the number of transfers from local jails. Other hubs, like the San Mateo Participatory Defense Hub, highlighted how family and community advocacy played a key role in the passing of county ordinance to end all collaboration with ICE. It has been the creative strategies that have come from their hubs, individuals and families that have contributed to stopping deportations, and disrupting these systems that seek to dispose of our community.


Without a doubt, from Orange County to Knoxville, Tennessee, participatory defense has been crucial in supporting community members and creating liberatory campaigns that have led to the freedom of many. It was powerful to see practitioners of participatory defense from across the country come together to share and contribute to the expansion of our toolkit to bring loved ones home. 

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