CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS CITE DISTURBING PATTERN OF BREAKDOWNS
IN SERVICES TO VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES
SAN DIEGO – a series of breakdowns in policies, procedures, and standards forced many of the county's most vulnerable residents affected by the devastating wildfires to be denied emergency services in their time of greatest need, according to a report released today by the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, Justice Overcoming Boundaries, and the Immigrant Rights Consortium, a coalition of more than 25 community groups, comprising faith, labor, advocacy and legal organizations. The report was based on an extensive field monitoring operation.
The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a human rigthts service organization in San Diego, issued its own report detailing incidents reported directly to them.
While the ACLU-JOB-IRC report also notes many positive examples of the treatment of vulnerable populations and the bravery and generosity of our community, the groups have grave concerns about official and unofficial treatment of immigrant, poor, and homeless populations during this natural disaster. The groups unequivocally call on civic leaders, in the heat of a humanitarian crisis, to curtail policies that discriminate based on immigration status or home ownership, and to provide emergency assistance to all who are in need.
The report also describes a misguided pattern of official clampdown on the media’s right to cover all aspects of this story without government interference, which hurt the media's ability to report on vulnerable populations.
The full ACLU-JOB-IRC report is attached below, as is the report of the AFSC.
Immigrant Rights Consortium
Justice Overcoming Boundaries
KPBS: Complaints Surface at Fire Evacuation Sites
ACLU-JOB-IRC Report: on Firestorm 2007
Final Report - Firestorms 11-07.pdf