When every arrest is a potential immigration arrest, people in immigrant communities are afraid to report crimes or cooperate with investigations.

Hence the Trust Act. Sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco, the bill would require local police departments to release people who have been arrested once their bond is posted or their sentence is up as long as they have no serious convictions and even if federal officials have issued a detainer.

California is hardly going rogue as states like Arizona and Alabama have. Unlike them, it has not drafted laws starkly opposed to federal immigration priorities, to harass the innocent and encourage racial profiling.

On the contrary, the bill has been endorsed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, the police chiefs of Oakland and Palo Alto, California’s Catholic bis and a wide cross-section of other city governments, police officials and immigrant-rights organizations.

The bill would enhance the ability of local departments to fight crime by restoring community trust and saving jail space for serious offenders. It deserves to become law.

Editorial published by New York Times – June 21, 2012.