Los Angeles City Council Votes on TRUST Act

National Day Laborer Organizing Network Statement

CONTACT: Chris Newman, cnewman@ndlon.org

LOS ANGELES –The Los Angeles City Council votes on the TRUST Act today following incorrect claims made earlier this week by some sheriffs that the measure conflicts with federal law.

Chris Newman, Legal Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), released the following statement:

“Sherriff Lee Baca’s profound misunderstanding of the law and his unwillingness to join the rest of us in an earnest policy discussion is proof of the need for the TRUST Act.”

Press release on letter from law professors and deans to Gov. Brown refuting sheriffs’ claims below



Prominent Law Professors and Deans Endorse TRUST Act,
Refute Some Sheriffs’ Incorrect Claims that Measure Conflicts with Federal Law
Support for Legislation Reaches Critical Mass as Key Law Enforcement Officials Back Bill to Limit Immigrant Detentions

SACRAMENTO – Support for the TRUST Act, the California legislation billed as the “Anti-Arizona” immigration policy, continues to grow across a broad coalition urging California Gov. Jerry Brown to sign the bill into law.

Top law professors from around the country issued a letter to Gov. Brown today supporting the legislation and refuting the principal argument against the TRUST Act(AB 1081 – Ammiano). The letter, signed by 31 professors, explains that federal requests to local law enforcement officials to detain undocumented immigrants for additional time are not orders carrying the force of law, as some sheriffs have claimed. In fact, the Professors explain, these “hold” requests are completely optional, and California’s effort to limit them is entirely within its power. Pledges made by some Sheriffs to defy the legislation if it is signed into law have no legal basis.

Meanwhile, two crucial new law enforcement leaders endorsed the legislation this week, including a past President of the State Sheriff’s Association. The endorsement highlights divisions within the Association, the sole entity which has registered opposition to the bill. The division emerged as a wide coalition continues to grow in support of the bill.

The TRUST Act has captured national attention. It would rebuild community confidence in law enforcement – and save local resources – by limiting unfair detentions for deportation purposes in local jails often caused by the federal government’s “Se Communities” deportation program.

Key points made to the Governor in the law professors’ letter include:

  • The primary opposition argument against the TRUST Act – that immigration detainers are mandatory orders – is without merit
  • Immigration detainers raise Due Process and Fourth Amendment concerns
  • The TRUST Act would support Equal Protection guarantees under the Constitution.

While the California State Sheriffs’ Association remains opposed, letters of support from individual law enforcement leaders have poured into the Governor’s office this week, including from Santa Clara County Sherriff Laurie Smith and San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr. (They join Oakland Police Chief Jordan and Palo Alto Police Burns.) Other new supporters of the measure include the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus; the California Legislative Black Caucus; the Califomia Latino Legislative Caucus, and the California Legislative Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Caucus, who sent a joint letter to the Governor earlier this week.

Under the TRUST Act, local law enforcement would have clear guidelines on when not to submit to immigration hold requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), while allowing holds for those convicted or charged with serious or violent felonies. Cook County and Chicago have far more expansive legislation already in place.

In California alone, nearly 80,000 immigrants have been deported since the program’s inception. As of July 2012, cumulative data shows that 69 percent of deportations were of people not convicted of a crime or convicted of only minor offenses, including traffic violations, selling food without a permit, and others. A recent report showed that California spends $65 million annually to participate in the program.

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Legal Analysis of immigration detainers and the constitutionality of their enforcement:

“Administrative detainers are unsupported by sworn evidence or probable cause, and they are not reviewed by a neutral magistrate. Local detention based solely on a detainer from ICE is no more jusitfied under the law than detention based on a postcard from ICE.”
– Michael J. Wishnie, William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law at Yale Law School.

“Without the TRUST Act, individual local police will, in practical effect, be entrusted with the discretion to make federal immigration policy on the ground by deciding who is arrested and brought into contact with the federal immigration enforcement system. Federal prosecutorial discretion can only have a limited effect in detecting and eliminating any racial and ethnic profiling that occurs in the initial arrest context.”
– Hiroshi Motomura, Susan Westerberg Prager Professor of Law at UCLA Law School.

“DHS has made it mandatory that all counties participate in Se Communities by sharing fingerprint information, but the requests for ICE holds have never been mandatory and are just that, requests.”
– Allison Davenport, Clinical Instructor & Lecturer International Human Rights Law Clinic University of California, Berkeley School of Law


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