Last Thursday, the BART Board of Directors passed a Safe Transit Policy, to protect BART’s most vulnerable riders and providing safe access for all. The measure passed by a vote of 8-1.
Backed by a broad coalition of BART riders, community organizations, and elected officials, Safe Transit bars BART from spending any of its own resources to enforce federal immigration law and forbids discriminating on or asking riders about immigration status.
The successful passage of Safe Transit will make the entire system safer for riders of all backgrounds. Under Safe Transit, BART will focus its resources on our top priorities—transporting our riders with affordability, accessibility, and accountability—not harmful, wasteful anti-immigrant policies. I will continue to work to make sure Safe Transit is implemented fully across the system in the years to come.
I am proud that BART is the first transit system in the nation to pass a Safe Transit Policy, and I hope other regions follow.
The following is a transcript of some of my remarks before the vote on Safe Transit, lightly edited for readability:
Immigrants are an indispensable part of the Bay Area’s construct, and they shape, sustain, and contribute to our region. Immigrants, regardless of their status, have to ride our system. Access to mobility and transit are indeed human rights, and it is important that politics not shape—should not and cannot shape—people’s access to mobilities.
For the Honduran mother that I talk to who cleans rooms in downtown San Francisco, who catches BART four times each week to meet with her pro bono immigration attorney, and for the young Somali sister who wears a hijab, who told me, in researching this subject, that she fears every single time she sees a BART police officer that she may be taken off the train—I would love to say today: we want you to do two things: pay your fare and get to your destination safely, because that is our job.
It’s important for members of the public and for this BART Board and staff to come together to be able to say, as we move forward in the Bay Area, that, again, we care about our riders. The Bay Area is a dynamic and diverse community. So every man and woman and child and family, as they come into our stations, should know that we have one, sole job.