Posted by on September 11, 2013 in Blog

Yalla Vote CaliforniaAlmost a year ago, California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the TRUST Act (Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tools Act), a bill widely considered the first serious challenge to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency’s Secure Communities program (S-COMM). Secure Communities mandates that all individuals arrested (not convicted) of a crime be screened for immigration status. The 2012 TRUST Act would have prevented California law enforcement agents from detaining suspected illegal immigrants and handing them over to federal authorities unless those individuals were suspected of committing a serious or violent crime.

S-COMM has been extremely controversial, particularly as federal authorities allowed no opt-out option for localities. Nonetheless, the LA Chief of Police said last year that he would transfer to federal agents anyone arrested, including those accused of  “low-level crimes.” However, in December 2012, California Attorney General Kamala Harris told local law enforcement agencies that they were not obligated to comply with the program: “Immigration detainer requests are not mandatory, and each agency may make its own decision.”

Now, in another attempt to make California’s non-participation official, the State Assembly has sent an amended TRUST Act to Gov. Brown’s desk. Included in the text of the bill is this admonition against S-COMM:

Unlike criminal detainers, which are supported by a warrant and require probable cause, there is no requirement for a warrant and no established standard of proof, such as reasonable suspicion or probable cause, for issuing an ICE detainer request. Immigration detainers have erroneously been placed on United States citizens as well as immigrants who are not deportable.

Next stop, Gov. Brown. Whether he’ll sign it remains to be seen. But 28 fellow Californians, each a Democratic Member of Congress, have asked him to do just that.

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