Governor Brown vetoed the TRUST Act last year, arguing that the legislation was “fatally flawed” because it was not strict enough.
AB 4, a bill sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), corrects that issue by adding a new series of crimes (compared to last year’s bill) for which an undocumented immigrant can be detained and turned over to immigration authorities. At the same time, it establishes a detention process to ensure that those with dangerous criminal records do not go free.
We agree that public safety is essential. The failed Secure Communities (S-Comm) program was supposedly meant to identify undocumented criminals. But because of its confusing, disastrous implementation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and local law enforcement, the results of this federal program were exactly the opposite.
Between the start of the program and May 2013, almost 100,000 Californians were deported, the majority for offenses that did not warrant deportation under the spirit of the program. However, S-Comm got so out of control that thousands of American citizens suspected of being undocumented were detainedand a few even mistakenly ended up in Mexico.
Therefore, members of the immigrant community are afraid to report crimes. Victims and witnesses reasonably fear that they or their relatives may end up getting deported if they report a crime.
The TRUST Act draws a clear line between local and immigration authorities, respects the original intent of the program and helps regain the undocumented community’s trust in law enforcement officials contributing to and reinforcing public safety.
Immigration reform is now being debated in Washington, with uncertain possibilities. In the meanwhile, these types of deportations continue. It is urgent for the governor to sign this legislation that will remedy the excesses of Secure Communities.