This morning, the San Francisco Democratic Party asked the California Democratic Party one question: Will you stand with immigrants?
At a press conference this morning, the San Francisco Democratic Party, along with Former Supervisor David Campos, the San Francisco Latino Democratic Club, SF Young Democrats, and other community stakeholders, urged the California Democratic Party to support a resolution to extend party membership to all, regardless of citizenship and immigration status.
The resolution calls on the state party to recognize any resident over the age of 18, regardless of immigration status or citizenship, the right to fully participate in the California Democratic Party. This includes allowing non-citizens the opportunity to be delegates and proxies for the party.
But just hours after the rally, the resolution fell into the maw of the California Democratic Party bureaucracy.
The measure was submitted to the Resolutions Committee – but the chair decided, without discussion, to refer it instead to the Rules Committee. But for whatever reason, he waited until it was too late to make the Resolutions Committee agenda today.
“They aren’t going to vote on it,” Sarah Souza, author of the resolution, told us.
This resolution is personal to Souza, a DREAMer and San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee member. Souza was the first ever DACA recipient to be appointed to the DCCC and she introduced this resolution as a response to the current political climate.
While she is a DREAMer, Souza highlights that this resolution is not reserved only for DREAMers— it’s for all, regardless of status.She wants to pave the way for others to have the same opportunity to be active participants in the Democratic party.
Though California has made progressin integrating the immigration population, including passing legislation that authorizes driver’s licenses, comprehensive healthcare for all children, and in-state tuition for eligible residents regardless of immigration status, it falls behind the national party in extending Democratic party membership and inclusion.
The Democratic National Party has already amended its bylaws to allow immigrants to participate as delegates. San Francisco has done the same. What about California?
“It’s time for us to stand for and with immigrants,” Souza told us. “We need to give them access and a seat at the table.”
We asked the acting chair of the state party, Alexandra Gallardo-Rooker, what had happened, and she said “I just heard about it,” she said. She said she supported the resolution, but “it’s not the end of the world” if it has to be considered at a later Executive Board meeting or the November convention.
But Former Supervisor David Campos, who also serves as Chair of the DCCC, says that this resolution is urgent, especially as Trump and the Republican Party continue to wage a war on immigrants. “In the midst of this war, it’s important for the Democratic party to be very clear that it is pro-immigrant— not only in words, but in action. That’s what this is about,” Campos said.
Party leader and activist Hene Kelly told us that she’s not giving up. “We will get enough signatures to put this to a vote on the floor,” she said.
And Souza didn’t give up, either: After a day of lobbying, social media work, and meeting with party leaders, she was able to get the measure back before the Resolutions Committee just before it adjourned. It passed.
Additional reporting by Tim Redmond.