Tuesday, 10 September 2013 12:36

CA TRUST Act Heads to Gov. Brown's Desk

Sacramento - Today, by an initial vote of 48 to 22, the California State Assembly  approved amendments to TRUST Act (AB 4 - Ammiano) which reflect the great majority of a framework proposed by the Governor's office. Today's "concurrence" vote follows yesterday's successful Senate vote of 25-11. The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown, and a broad coalition of supporters is confident that the Governor will sign the significantly revised proposal into law.

The bill would ease the painful impact of the "Secure" Communities or S-Comm deportation program, which turns even low level or unjustified arrests into extended detentions for deportation purposes in local jails. S-Comm has split families apart, undermined community confidence in law enforcement, and led to the deportation of nearly 100,000 Californians, most with minor convictions or none at all.

"California families are now looking to Governor Brown to sign the TRUST Act to relieve the suffering caused by S-Comm and wrongful deportations and to make California a leader that makes real change in the immigration reform debate," said Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. 

In the past month, the bill has earned a growing wave of support from police chiefsmembers of Congresslegal experts, and faith leaders. Passage would bolster efforts to advance federal immigration reform and limit the deportation of potential citizens.
While Governor Brown vetoed the measure last year, he pledged to support a modified version, and declared that “federal agents shouldn’t try to coerce local law enforcement officers into detaining people who’ve been picked up for minor offenses and pose no reasonable threat to their community.“

The current, compromise version of the TRUST Act gives law enforcement much broader discretion to honor immigration "detainer" requests than the bill that you vetoed last year, while setting a compromise, minimum standard to ensure that those with most low-level, non-violent offenses are not wastefully held for deportation purposes.

For example, the TRUST Act allows holds for felony charges – including nonviolent felonies - before conviction, so long as a judge makes a finding of probable cause after a not-guilty plea. The proposal also allows holds for people with most misdemeanor “wobbler” convictions within 5 years, (technically known as wobblers, these crimes can also be charged as felonies).  For domestic violence, the bill limits holds to those with convictions only, since many survivors are arrested along with those who abuse them. Moreover, in a final set of amendments, the bill also provides that holds are allowed for certain federal criminal convictions.

Jurisdictions such as Cook Co, IL (where Chicago is located), New Orleans, LA, Santa Clara County, CA, and Washington, DC, all have policies stronger than the TRUST Act in place.