Policy Inequality

Here’s what you need to know about California becoming a sanctuary state

It looks like California might just become the first sanctuary state in the United States. SB 54, which was introduced in the Senate early December 2016 , includes provisions that would aptly categorize California as such, and immigrant groups are heavily pushing for its approval.

SB 54, also known as the “California Values Act,” would “prevent the use of state and local public resources to aid ICE agents in deportation actions.” This bill comes on the heels of President Trump’s fierce crackdown on immigration in the United States. Senator Kevin De León (D.) of California was the first to introduce the bill, along with fellow California Senator Richard Pan.

So, what’s this bill  do? 

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  • California law enforcement officials (both statewide and local) cannot carry out deportations.
  • ICE would be prohibited from entering public areas such as schools, courthouses, and hospitals, and would require California agencies to update and uphold confidentiality policies. This is an effort to encourage undocumented people to seek out public services as needed in a non-threatening environment.
  • The state would take positive measures to protect undocumented immigrants from federal reach.
  • However, ICE would be able to carry out a deportation if they obtained a judicial warrant.

What’s this whole “sanctuary state” thing about?

California could become a sanctuary state

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Opponents of the bill have complained that it might make California a “de facto sanctuary state”. But will it? That depends on how you define a “sanctuary”.

By the mainstream definition, the California Values Act would, in fact, make California a sanctuary.  “Sanctuary cities” define themselves as places that limit the power of ICE in their jurisdictions by not cooperating with ICE officials. IF SB 54 passed, California would fit that description perfectly.

ICE would still have all the power of the federal government to terrorize undocumented immigrants. The state of California would not be able to put a stop on deportation raids carried out with a judicial warrant. And with widespread recent ICE raids, many concentrated in California, the very possibility of deportations is frightening to many undocumented immigrants still living in the state.

Also important to note: ANY immigrant can turn away ICE for lacking a judicial warrant. ICE does not have the right to carry out a deportation without one. The “warrant requirement” is not unique to this bill at all.

Do we like this bill or not? 


In sum – yes. SB 54 doesn’t completely shield undocumented folks from ICE, as a bill like that can’t possibly exist. It would be openly defying federal law if it did. However, this bill is a huge step in protecting immigrants and de-criminalizing their existence.

If passed, the California Values Act would indeed make California a “de facto sanctuary state”, by all accepted definitions. That is an enormous symbolic step, if not also a severe hindrance for ICE in the state with the largest population of undocumented immigrants in the US.

Great, okay. How is this  bill doing now?

It’s doing well. A state senate committee approved it on February 1st.  The political climate in California is looking good overall, with California lawmakers proposing bills with a similar pro-sanctuary sentiments. Let’s bide our time, and hope this thing passes.

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It’s time to look policy right in the face, and The Tempest is doing exactly that

At the close of 2016, many of us looked back on the year with a mixture of incredulity and sadness. We felt the deep reverberations of a changing political global landscape, riding the shockwaves through events like Brexit, an attempted Turkish coup, and the American election campaign. For many, politics took a dark and sudden turn the night Donald Trump was elected.

Donald Trump’s rise to power and ultimate capture of the White House was jolting for many. The rhetoric he used to incite support was divisive, destructive, and crass — but the sad truth is that he was merely capitalizing on the sentiments of his support base. He’s all of our childhood bullies personified: the ones who picked on us for our names, sexualities, clothes, lunches, appearances. Our bullies tried to make us feel small, alien.

[bctt tweet=”The Tempest is launching a new Policy vertical to kick off the new political era.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Donald Trump’s victory is an affirmation that those bullies don’t merely exist on the playground. And as of today, he was sworn in as 45th President of the United States of America.

That’s not something we’re going to take lightly.

We’re not here to participate in internet slacktivism — we’re here to assert our political presence. Which is why The Tempest is launching a new Policy vertical to kick off the dawn of a new political era.

We’re here to help people like you decipher laws and policies in ways that are easily digestible for everyone. In times like these, the most powerful thing we can do is equip ourselves with knowledge.

However, keeping up with politics requires time, energy, and (more often than not) an advanced dictionary/thesaurus. Truth is, many of us become discouraged with the seemingly daunting and clunky language of politics. Bills can be up to hundreds of pages long and full of legal jargon that’s difficult to break down. It’s all-too-easy to disengage from the endless bills that flow through the congressional labyrinth.

[bctt tweet=”We’re not here to participate in internet slacktivism .” username=”wearethetempest”]

This section is going disrupt that flow, take out the haphazard fluff and get straight to what matters. We’ll walk you through some of the hottest bills, what they aim to do, and whether or not they’ll disproportionately affect you.

Given that this is such a crucial time for politics, it’s extremely important that we understand the policies which govern us. Practicing active citizenship is the best favor we can do for ourselves, regardless of whoever’s in office.

And we’re here to shake things up.

Politics The World

California voted “no” on Proposition 60 with huge implications

As a Black Muslim woman, part of me is slightly terrified about what the next four years will bring. Though we can’t stop Trump from being president (we for sure can’t, right?) there are a number of propositions from across the country that also matter a great deal.

Altogether, there were 157 propositions voted on in more than half of the U.S. this year. As a result, Nevada legislature will minimize regulations on the energy market and eliminate legal energy monopolies. DC residents also voted to vie for statehood.

The presidential election is decided by the electoral college, so one could argue that your vote does not matter, but when it comes to state propositions, your vote–and your understanding of local laws–matters.

This year, California voters overwhelmingly voted NOT to require pornography actors to wear condoms. This is important because of one unfortunate reality: many of us learn about sex by watching “flicks”.

Let’s own it: a lot of us in the United States got our misguided sex education from pornography. This is evident in the prevalence of rape culture, the increasing demand for rape porn, and the youth themselves. Pornography has already been proven to negatively impact an adolescent’s mind in some virtually irreversible ways. Thankfully, there are many pornographic films that seamlessly feature actors wearing condoms, but that may be a thing of the past.

Porn featuring unprotected sex is typically supported on free sites.  Since most teens don’t have 1. money 2. a private place to keep anything sexual, free sites like RedTube, PornHub, and others are the natural default. Many of the videos on these sites are uploaded by users who try their hardest to mimic the professionals. This means that more of those participants will likely stop using condoms if they haven’t already.

The implications of rejecting condoms in this way amount to supporting male dominance in the bedroom. Between the obsession with underaged girls, the involuntary bondage, and rape fantasies, porn is already warped. Consensual kinkiness is cool, but the majority of videos of PunishTube and others focus on causing unwanted pain. Similarly, many men pressure women into unprotected sex so they can really feel it, disregarding the woman’s desire to avoid pregnancy or prevent a sexually transmitted disease.

I certainly acknowledge the stance of sex workers on this issue. Like most propositions, this one was funded by special interest groups. A great number of people from oppositional groups were against prop 60. This 13-page document is more complicated than its proponents would have us believe. There is also a law on the books requiring condoms, but the enforcement is loose at best. My concern is that so many voters were uninformed and voted no based on their own desire to maintain a culture of deviance rather than because of the corruption behind the bill’s origins. My comments are not about the sex workers who want to avoid stalkers, nor am I referring to the actors when I say this. I am specifically referring to the industry’s fascination with and proliferation of rape culture.

Some porn enthusiasts vehemently advocated for Prop 60. Others simply support the use of barrier methods more fervently than hetero-dominated sites. This aggressive enthusiasm was widely ignored. Emerging companies like NoFauxxx even advocates in their site that we must involve the purposeful use of condoms to “eroticize and normalise the use of safer sex supplies in our true sex lives.” On that front, queer porn is light years ahead of hetero porn.

Too much of the pornography industry is male-focused. POV porn often attempts to embarrass and dehumanize women. Men congratulate each other for being violent towards their female partners. General devaluation of women is the norm. Rejecting the idea that men should wear condoms in consideration of a woman demonstrates the patriarchy’s persistence in porn. Rape culture won’t necessarily disappear by putting on a condom, but it could be a step in the right direction.

A lot of voters walk into the booth without adequate information about the details of an election cycle. How many of us can cite all the policies proposed by the person we voted for? Sadly, soundbites often outweigh reality. Without knowing the messed up background of the proposed legislation, so many people still voted no.

Is that still a victory?

With all of the U.S. political system madness on the horizon, we have to realize that there are local issues where our action can make a serious impact. Let’s pay much more attention to propositions like this so we are not inadvertently helping our first orange president destroy the world.

Proposition 60 was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. The general sentiment behind its rejection, though, is something we should more openly consider.

Love Life Stories Interviews

Never compromise for success: An interview with Dalia Mogahed

Dalia Mogahed is an American Muslim scholar. Currently, she is the Director of Research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) and the President and CEO of Mogahed Consulting, a consulting and executive coaching firm that specializes in Muslim societies in the Middle East. Formerly, Mogahed served as the Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies – which provided data and analysis to reflect the views and beliefs of Muslims across the globe. She also helped co-write “Who Speaks for Islam?: What a Billion Muslims really Think” with Professor John Esposito (Georgetown University).  Most notably, Mogahed served as an advisor for U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood  Partnerships.

The Tempest had the opportunity to speak to Mogahed about her work, projects, upbringing, and more.

The Tempest: Tell us about yourself in your own words and one thing people assume about you that isn’t true.

Dalia Mogahed: I am someone driven by the way my life has unfolded, rather than someone who has driven my own life. I really do feel that I have been responding to the terrain and how it changes, and I’m doing my best to reach my goal. I don’t feel like I set out to be where I am now – I didn’t set out a plan and execute it. I admire people who do and know how to do it, but I am grateful for the series of serendipitous events [that have led me here]. The thing that people think about me that isn’t true is that I’m focused, driven, and had it all planned out from the beginning – that it’s all a grand strategy, from the beginning. That isn’t the truth.

Your work has focused around the American Muslim community throughout your career. How has your experience with the community evolved and grown throughout the years? With your recent growth in the greater media space, how do you think that will change the work you’re doing?

dalia mogahed

The way that the community has evolved has been inspirational: we’re not debating moon sightings and halal meat anymore. We’re debating government on countering violent extremism (CVE). The debates have changed, and that’s a sign of a more sophisticated community. I can’t predict very easily where others land on those debates, [but they have] become more subtle and realistic – tactical. We have similar goals and different strategies for how to get there, and that’s the debate – rather than debating the actual goals. We’re speaking about things that we should be debating, rather than debating things we should have debated a thousand years ago. I don’t think it will change my role a lot – or at least I hope it won’t. I hope it’ll give me the opportunity to do more [of] what I have been doing, which is to research and share the viewpoints of ordinary Muslims. The more I can reach ordinary people about Muslims with the message, I don’t see my work slowing down.

What’s the importance of having more women like you in the work that you’re doing? Do you see women like you in the people you look up to?

If it means women working in the public space, then yes, there should be a lot more women in the public space. If it means Muslim women working on issues in the public space and engaging in national conversations, absolutely, we need more people doing that.

Are there people I admire in the space? Yes – people like Linda Sarsour, who is so sincere and dedicated to her work and really walks the walk. And I think that’s such an important trait that everyone should learn from women like [her and] Suzanne Barakat, who was put in the place [of] being a public spokesperson from [being a] private person during a difficult time in her life. Suzanne finds the strength to continue to do this, even though this wasn’t the role she asked for. She does it completely out of the will to serve, and I think that’s incredibly admirable. It’s something I really look up to and respect.

Dalia Mogahd's speech

There are so many more women I can’t even begin to name. I am really inspired because I feel like, at no time in my life, did I have so many amazing women to call my peers and my role models, or people I would be honored to mentor. It’s never been this rich of a landscape of up-and-coming leaders and [current] leaders who are doing amazing things. I believe it’s a trend that continues to grow and I’m hopeful about the role of Muslim women in America.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on a project about American Muslims in the elections, and I’m also working on a very exciting poll on American Muslims that came out on March 15. I’m [also] working on a project that is tagging American Muslim contributions in Michigan. The final project I’m excited about is focused on reimagining American Muslim space, which is within the portfolio of ISPU. It is really hitting on what American Muslims are facing on right now when it comes from public policy issues that affect us disproportionately to issues that face us at home.

How did your childhood influence your career decisions, and is there anything you wish you could have done differently?


My career decisions were in spite of my childhood. I had a very traditional upbringing as an immigrant, and I was encouraged heavily to do engineering. I was very discouraged from public policy work that was deemed risky or dangerous – my parents just wanted good students. My sisters and I were very good students in school. But, for me. it was activism, and I’ve been working on Muslim issues since I was 17 years old or younger. In college, I did a lot of activism outside of my engineering degree by writing in the college newspaper and starting organizations and other things. I always did it in parallel with typical Egyptian expectations of girl. Then I was able to marry the two sides – the research skills, the hard science, the solutions science – and marry it to the topic area of which I’m passionate abut. My background in the hard sciences is helpful to me right now. Even if you start out in one area, it doesn’t mean you’re going to stay in that field forever. You can transfer that into whatever you’re passionate about.

What’s your advice to young women like you looking to get into the work that you do?

My advice is do a lot of writing. Read and write, read a lot – about this topic – and then develop an original voice. Be a critical thinker, an independent thinker. Don’t ever think you have to compromise your identity to succeed. Success will find you. You don’t have to bend over backwards to succeed. Set your sights on the destination of where you want to go – and that destination will be to serve God. It won’t be a path you necessarily imagine, but you will find it and you will get there.

You can follow Dalia Mogahed on Twitter: @DMogahed, Facebook: Dalia Mogahed, and her websiteThis interview has been edited lightly for length and clarity.