Posted by on October 05, 2012 in Blog

Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed the Trust Act, a proposal to prevent local California law enforcement officials from detaining suspected illegal immigrants and handing them over to federal authorities, except in cases where they have been arrested on suspicion of committing a serious or violent crime.

The Trust Act was largely viewed as the first serious challenge to the federal Secure Communities program, under which all individuals arrested —not convicted— are screened for immigration status. Because communities cannot opt out of the Secure Communities program, some localities and states have sought initiatives to circumvent or limit compliance.

The Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) asserts that the automatic check of immigration status for all arrestees helps reduce racial profiling. But statistics show that non-white individuals are more likely to be stopped, arrested, and convicted than are whites. Further, numerous accounts of manipulation or misreporting of race information have been documented, from Arizona to San Francisco, skewing statistics regarding the percentage of minorities arrested, presumably in an attempt to counter accusations of racial profiling. One study as yet unquestioned showed that, in Albany, New York, minorities accounted for nearly half of all arrests, despite comprising less than one-quarter of the population.