California’s immigrant community is waiting for Governor Jerry Brown to give them respite by signing AB 4, the so-called TRUST Act. That way, he won’t obstruct the possibilities to achieve legalization and citizenship for some undocumented immigrants.
Enacting the TRUST Act means that local police and counties would not be able to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to imprison undocumented immigrants who have not committed any serious crimes.
Last year, Brown vetoed this bill after the local legislature had approved it. He saw it as “fatally flawed” because it was not as strict as he wanted, since it did not specifically include crimes like child abuse, using minors to sell drugs and the threat of terrorist attacks.
However, listening to Brown’s concerns, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), the bill’s author, made some amendments that should ensure that the governor signs the bill.
The TRUST Act has been presented as the counterpart to ICE’s controversial federal program known as Secure Communities. Under this program, jails obtain information from those arrested by local police officers and detain them for 48 hours, putting them at the disposal of immigration authorities.
The majority of deportees have been identified by immigration authorities for committing offenses as common as traffic violations.
Now that the undocumented will soon be able to drive with specially marked licenses, it is important for them not to be exposed to the arbitrary treatment of local police officers who tend to turn harmless people over to ICE, as is happening now.
We join 51 university researchers, 28 Democrats in Congress and the police chiefs of San Diego, Chula Vista and San Francisco, who have called for Governor Brown to sign the legislation. Now it is Brown’s turn to do the right thing.