The bill’s passage raises pressure on California Governor Jerry Brown to negotiate with Assemblymember Ammiano and the bill’s sponsors on a solution to curb the state’s deportation crisis. While vetoing a version of the bill last year, the Governor had pledged to champion a new version “forthwith.” As advocates continue to wait for the Governor to take leadership, some 5,000 Californians have been deported from January – March of this year alone, most without serious convictions.
Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network said, “”The California Assembly affirmed its commitment to public safety and civil rights today. We are all less safe when imaginary fears born in places like Arizona trump legitimate public safety concerns in our communities. The cloud of suspicion cast by the federal Se Communities deportation program has created a crisis in California. The TRUST Act makes us safer by taking serious the rational fear immigrants have of police and pushing back on the unjust deportations that are ravaging our state. It is now time for Governor Brown to demonstrate leadership in repairing what everyone agrees is a broken, unjust, and dangerous status quo.”
“I am committed to engaging in a dialogue with the Governor. I hope he will come to the table and ultimately champion a bill to protect thousands of California families from a wasteful and out of control deportation system,” said Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-SF), the bill’s author. “We should not deport people today, when they could be on the road to citizenship under immigration reform.”
Several key legislators spoke powerfully in support of the bill, which now heads to the Senate with Sen. De León (D-LA), a principal co-author, ready to spearhead its passage. On the floor today, Asm. V.M. Pérez (D-Coachella), Latino Caucus Vice Chair and a principal Co-author of the bill, urged legislators to consider the plight of a child who returns home from school to suddenly find their parents have been deported. “Can you imagine what it’s like?”, he asked his fellow legislators.
Asm. Holly Mitchell (D-LA) stated frankly, “I don’t want to live in a police state” where community members fear law enforcement. She shared that thetestimony of Jirayut “New” Latthivongskorn – a “Dreamer” who was the victim of a robbery, but feared that contacting police could lead to deportation – and hundreds of supporters at last month’s public safety committee hearing had deeply moved her.
Asm. Luis Alejo, (D-Salinas), another principal co-author of the bill, noted that 95,000 Californians have been deported through the program- about 7 in 10 of whom had either no convictions or minor ones, and pointed out that even survivors of domestic violence have been held for deportation purposes after reporting abuse.
Since the TRUST Act would have gone into effect, thousands of contributing members of California communities have been deported. Under the current version of the bill, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “hold” requests to detain people for extra time would only be allowed for serious or violent felony convictions, as defined by existing law. This standard upholds basic due process principles and seeks to restore S-Comm to its original focus on those with the most serious convictions.
Authored by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-SF), AB 4’s principal co-authors are Senator Kevin De León (D-LA) and Assemblymembers Luis Alejo (D-Salinas) and V.M. Pérez (D-Coachella). The bill’s organizational sponsors are the Asian Law Caucus, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, California Immigrant Policy Center, ACLU of California, and MALDEF, and a vibrant network of community and faith organizations is advocating for the bill.