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Revamped "TRUST Act" Back This Year at California Capitol

Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user Glenngould

A California lawmaker is taking another run at a bill that would limit federal immigration holds on people in local custody.  Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the so-called “TRUST Act” last year because he said it prevented law enforcement from holding certain violent criminals.  But as KPCC’s Julie Small reports, a new version of the bill cleared its first committee Tuesday.

The federal Secure Communities Program requires local law enforcement agencies to report all arrests to federal immigration officials.  If immigration wants a detainee to be held — then police are asked to keep them in custody.  Rosa Aqeel with the faith-based advocacy group PICO California says the law is supposed to help round up dangerous criminals, but that’s not how it’s worked.

“What’s happened in actuality is that the program has swept up everybody and anyone that comes into contact with law enforcement—including someone who gets pulled over for a broken taillight, or a victim of domestic violence who reports the crime,” says Aqeel. 

Immigration advocates claim that most people deported under Secure Communities lacked criminal convictions or were never charged with crimes.  
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano has introduced a bill to modify how the law is applied in California. The San Francisco Democrat wants to ban law enforcement from using immigration holds on people arrested for minor crimes and who lack a serious criminal history.
Last year Governor Brown vetoed near identical legislation—but said he was willing to work on a fix. The Assembly is expected to vote on the TRUST Act as early as next week.