NDLON Press Releases

Latest updates on our news, events & campaigns

California Advances TRUST Act to Stop Arizonification of Jails

Following Lofgren Investigation, former Arizona Governor Napolitano Flies to California to Defend Discredited Program
(Sacramento, CA) The TRUST Act (AB 1081) sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano passed out of the California public safety committee with all Democrats voting to support it. The bill seeks to repair the damaging impacts of the Immigration Customs Enforcement Agency’s “Se Communities” program. The program has been widely discredited across the country due to the blatant dishonesty exposed in a series of internal emails released by advocates who received them only through litigation under the Freedom of Information Act. Stories of domestic violence survivors and high rates of people still presumed to be innocent being placed into deportation proceedings via its finger-print sharing mechanism further demonstrated how the ICE program’s actual operations are far outside of its Congressional mandate. On Tuesday, a US Citizen testified about being falsely jailed because of the program.
Such developments led California Congresswoman Lofgren to call for an investigation into the program and into how involved ICE Director and DHS Secretary Napolitano may have been in its implementation.
Chris Newman of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network explains, “California will not allow the Arizonification of its law enforcement agencies. The TRUST Act is a modest measure meant to bring some transparency and confidence back to law enforcement after ICE’s rogue effort to enlist police as frontline immigration enforcers. We are confident California lawmakers will step up and create civil rights safeguards that protect our community, even if DHS officials are content to fight among themselves about a program no one fully understands.” …

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Following Allegations of ICE Lies, California Bill Would Renegotiate Participation in Se Communities

Ammiano bill would let localities out of troubled S-Comm immigration program;
Testimony from Sheriff, S-comm victims to show program’s harm to public safety
What: Assembly Public Safety Committee Hearing on AB 1081 (Ammiano), the TRUST Act, which would honor the right of local governments to opt out of ICE’s controversial “Se” Communities or S-Comm Program and set basic standards for jurisdictions that choose to participate.
When: Tuesday, April 26, 2011
* Interview availability at 10:30 AM
* Hearing begins at 9:30; TRUST Act may be heard any time during the hearing.
Where: Room 126, California State Capitol, Sacramento; Interview availability in hallway outside room.
Who: (Available at 10:30 AM)
· San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey
· Retired Sacramento Police Chief Arturo Venegas
· Norma – domestic violence victim facing deportation due to S-Comm

· Another person directly impacted by S-Comm (details to be released Tuesday.)
Note that Asm. Ammiano will be available for comment after the conclusion of the hearing.
Media visuals: Dozens of supporters packing the halls, wearing “Stop S-Comm” t-shirts and stickers, dramatic testimony from immigrants who have experienced hardship and fear due to S-Comm
Background: As Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) faces a growing storm of criticism from public officials over its troubled S-Comm program, the Assembly Public Safety Committee will hear a bill that would grant decision-making power to local governments on whether, and how, to relate to the controversial initiative.
The hearing takes place days after Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D- San Jose) called for an investigation into ICE officials’ “dissembling and deceiving” conduct on the question of whether local governments were required to participate in the burdensome program. According to Rep. Lofgren, ICE was “not honest with the local governments or with me.”
Lofgren’s forceful criticism followed the disclosure of hundreds of…

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A White House Immigration Meeting without Immigrants?

Today, the President held a White House meeting on Immigration Reform In response, Pablo Alvarado, Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network said,

“While we appreciate the President’s effort to keep immigration reform on the national agenda, his actions belie his intent. We’re greatly disappointed that the meeting didn’t include more voices of immigrants at the table, including representatives of directly affected communities especially the people in the state of Arizona and Georgia where there is a modern day human rights crisis. If the President genuinely wanted to fix the broken immigration system, he would respond to the growing chorus of voices calling for the suspension of the se communities program and move to legalize instead of further criminalize our immigrant communities.”…

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Newly Disclosed Documents Reveal ICE Deliberately Misled California Officials about S-Comm to Stem Opposition

(Los Angeles) Today, advocates in California made public hundreds of emails between federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and California officials regarding the “activation” of California’s cities and counties in ICE’s controversial “Se Communities” (S-Comm) program, which ensnares local police in federal immigration enforcement efforts. The documents were obtained by the National Day Laborer Organization, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the Cardozo Immigrant Justice Clinic through Freedom of Information Act litigation.
The emails reveal a federal agency in state of disarray, and a chorus of questions and complaints from California cities and counties wary of thrusting their police into the role of immigration enforcers.
“The domino effect is starting,” wrote an unidentified ICE official on May 25, 2010.(1) Questions about S-Comm were rolling in after strong opposition from San Francisco and Santa Clara County. Marin County’s Juvenile Probation Office was “quite agitated about [S-Comm] being ‘forced’ on them.”(2) San Mateo and Riverside County were requesting clarification on how they could opt-out of the program.(3) Sonoma County representatives were “upset” about receiving misleading information from ICE.(4) The ICE official frantically sought “messaging that can help . . . keep them on board.”(5)
“The ‘messaging’ ICE settled on, the emails show, centered on deliberately misleading California officials – from county sheriffs to Congressional representatives – about S-Comm’s voluntary nature, and about what ‘opting out’ of the program entailed,” explains Chris Newman, Legal Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. Information provided to Santa Clara County in May 2010 was approved over the phone, rather than in writing, to “give[] them plausible deniability if this Santa Clara thing goes south.”(6) Top-level ICE officers provided vastly different definitions of opt out to concerned California officials, some of which were purposely crafted to be misleading.(7) An FBI employee observing the process noted, “It amazes me that we are all in the same room and he thinks this [opt out messaging] is consistent.”(8)
Confusion about S-Comm went beyond the feasibility of opting out. “The emails also reveal confusion about the legal authority for the program and its true focus” says Angela Chan, Staff Attorney with the Asian Law Caucus. Despite concerns raised by then-Attorney General Jerry Brown as early as September 2010 about whether S-Comm was picking up minor offenders and traffic violators, ICE publicly insisted that S-comm focused on deporting convicted criminals.(9)
ICE officials also scrambled to identify legal authority for the program. In early presentations to the California Department of Justice, they apparently relied on a section of Proposition 187 that had been struck down by California Courts as unconstitutional.(10) In fact, later emails clarify, “There is no legislation that makes [Se Communities] mandatory.”(11)
The Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tools Act (“TRUST ACT”), currently scheduled to be heard in the public safety committee of the California Assembly on April 26th, aims to fix the ways that S-Comm’s misleading focus, over-broad reach and lack of transparency have eroded trust between police and immigrant communities and sparked considerable open government concerns. The TRUST Act would honor the right of local governments to opt out of the troubled S-Comm program. The Act also sets basic safeguards for those that do participate in the program to protect against racial profiling, protect the rights of children and domestic violence survivors, and upholds the right to a day in court by only reporting for deportation individuals convicted, not merely accused, of crimes.
Documents Can Be Found at http://bit.ly/scomm-foia-ca
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1. ICE FOIA 10-2674.0003246.
2. Id.
3. Id.; ICE FOIA 10-2674.0007167.
4. ICE FOIA 10-2674.0003815.
5. ICE FOIA 10-2674.0003246.
6. ICE FOIA 10-2674.0007174.
7. Compare 10-2674.0007229 (S-Comm Director David Venturella’s deliberately misleading definition of opt out for San Francisco Sheriff Hennessey) with 10-2674.0005151 (S-Comm Deputy Director Marc Rapp’s contrary definition of opt out, given to Congressional representatives the same week).
8. FBI SC 1726.
9. ICE FOIA 10-2674.0007228; 10-2674.0006127-6128.
10. ICE FOIA 10-2674.0007308.
11. ICE FOIA 10-2674.0005568. …

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Press Contacts

Contact: armando carmonaarmando@ndlon.org 951.966.6500 Member Organizations Contact Info:WEST COAST REGION MEMBERS CHIRLA (Los Angeles, CA)213 353 1333 IDEPSCA (Los Angeles,CA)213 252 2952 Malibu Community Labor Exchange (Malibu, CA)310 317 4717 Pomona Day Laborer Center (Pomona, CA)909 397 4215 Centro Laboral de Graton (Graton, CA)707 829 1864 Day Worker Center of Mountain View (Mountain View, CA)650…

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