Aug 29 2012

TRUST Act Would Counter Worst Effects of ‘Secure Communities’ Program

Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca intends to defy a proposed California law called the Trust Act. The bill was passed by the California Assembly on Friday, after the state senate passed it. It now awaits Governor Jerry Brown’s signature to become law. If approved, the law would conflict with the federal Secure Communities program on the detention of undocumented immigrants. Sheriff Baca states that his first priority is to uphold federal law even if the conflicting state bill becomes law.

The Trust Act addresses criticism of Secure Communities, a program that mandates cooperation between local and federal law enforcement on immigration enforcement. Secure Communities requires local police to send fingerprints of arrested individuals to ICE, or Immigration and Customs Enforcement. If ICE finds that the individual is an undocumented immigrant, it can ask local police to hold the individual in custody for 48 hours. Yet opponents criticize the program for often holding detainees for up to 20 more days than they would otherwise be held, costing California over $26 million a year. Supporters say the cost is worth it because the program upholds public safety by enabling the deportation of criminals.

However, critics of Secure Communities also contend that the program causes undocumented immigrants to distrust the police, and discourages them from reporting crimes such as domestic violence, for fear of deportation. Additionally, a majority of those deported so far did not commit serious felonies. The Trust Act hopes to solve these problems by preventing local law enforcement from sending fingerprints to ICE unless the crime committed was a serious or violent felony.

Activists from around the state traveled to Sacramento this week to rally in support of the Trust Act and to urge Governor Brown to sign the bill into law. It is not yet clear if Brown will do so.

Jessica Karp, staff attorney with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network – NDLON wrote the TRUST Act with the Asian Law Caucus

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One response so far

One Response to “TRUST Act Would Counter Worst Effects of ‘Secure Communities’ Program”

  1. Los Angeles immigration attorneyon 29 Aug 2012 at 3:24 pm

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