More than once, Norma recalls, she yearned to dial 911 when her partner hit her. But the undocumented mother of a U.S.-born toddler was too fearful of police and too broken of spirit to do so.
In October, she finally worked up the courage to call police — and paid a steep price.
Officers who responded found her sobbing, with a swollen lower lip. But a red mark on her alleged abuser’s cheek prompted police to book them both into the San Francisco County Jail while investigators sorted out the details.
With that, Norma was swept into the wide net of Se Communities, a federal program launched in 2008 with the stated goal of identifying and deporting more illegal immigrants “convicted of serious crimes.”
It’s to protect people like Norma that Assemblyman Tom Ammiano introduced the TRUST Act. The Act would reign in the unregulated program and let cities choose whether or not to participate. For those who seek to opt-in, the California bill would require the safeguards one would expect in the 21st century; protocol to prevent racial profiling and protections for victims of crimes and juveniles. At a minimum, the bill would bring transparency to a program that has been shrouded in secrecy and lies.
Commenting on the proliferation of local focus on federal immigration, Austin, TX Police Chief Acevedo said, “I’d rather spend my time going after serious criminals than going after day laborers at the Home Depot… These types of laws are misguided and counterproductive.”
President Obama may call together as many advocates to discuss immigration reform to the White House as he desires, but if he truly desired action on immigration he could start with picking up a pen and ending programs that ensnare police in immigration enforcement and imposing a moratorium on deportations today. Until then, the battle of Arizona will take place in more than the federal courts. It will be in each of our counties, states and city halls.
Originally Published on Huffington Post.