California’s anti-Arizona law set to cut ties with ICE and curtail deportations

California’s “anti-Arizona” bill or the TRUST Act passed the state Senate today. Tom Ammiano, a Democrat, said he authored AB1081 to reform California’s participation in the “Secure Communities” program. The hot-button immigration law continues to face severe criticism from liberals in large cities who say deportations of illegal immigrants is unfair and primarily targets the Latino community. If signed into law by the governor, the bill will prohibit local law enforcement departments from referring a detainee to Immigration, Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials from deportation unless that person has been convicted of a violent or serious felony.

“The vote (to move forward) recognizes that S-Communities is sabotaging our public safety,” Ammiano said. “The TRUST Act is the solution we need to begin rebuilding the confidence that our local law enforcement worked so hard to build, but that ICE has shattered.”

The progressive TRUST Act legislation from California Democrats has been nicknamed “the anti-Arizona” law. California State lawmakers took exception to Arizona’s tough illegal immigration stance in the form of SB1070. Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court weighed in and struck down key SB1070 provisions. However, the Court upheld Arizona law enforcement officers’ ability to curtail the illegal immigration issues in their state. Which meant Arizona’s law enforcement officers could request legal papers if the illegals were detained for different infractions.

Advocates of Secure Communities and SB1070 insist that shrinking state revenues and deficit-laden budgets are directly related to illegal immigration costs that are burdening states’ to pay for education, health care and skyrocketing prison populations.

However, California’s $15 billion deficit problems were of little concern and Democrats in Sacramento insisted on disentangling local and federal law enforcement provisions set by the federal government to deport criminal illegals.

If the Trust Act garners the signature of the Golden State’s governor, Jerry Brown, local police and Sheriff’s Departments would no longer have permission to work with ICE unless the suspected illegal immigrant has committed a serious felony. This contentious sticking point flies in the face of Police Departments like Escondido PD, who not only work directly with ICE, but agents have offices located at the Escondido Police Department. “It works,” Escondido Police Chief Jim Maher said.

The city’s successful relationship with ICE has even garnered the department national recognition.

Nevertheless, liberal California’s overwhelming Democratic legislature is hell bent on an open arms policy when it comes to illegal immigrants looking to call California home. The legislation would create a clear line between local police and ICE by setting “a minimum standard for local governments not to submit to ICE’s requests to detain people for deportation unless the individual has a serious or violent felony conviction. Guard against profiling and wrongful detention of citizens and crime victims and witnesses,” according to the bill. The bill also stipulates that localities that detain individuals with serious convictions inline for deportation would have to develop common-sense plans to prevent profiling and wrongful detentions

The TRUST Act’s sponsor Ammiano said: “California cannot afford to become another Arizona.”

The often-controversial Secure Communities (S-Comm) program was set up under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to partner federal (FBI) and local law enforcement agencies to deport illegal immigrants and protect the country’s borders from criminal or possible terrorists seeking illegal entry into the United States.

The S-Comm program allows police departments to send arrestee fingerprint data to ICE, which in turn uses the information to prioritize deportations. The program successfully deported 400,000 illegal immigrants last year. But that high number comes with passionate disapproval from Latino organizations and Democrat lawmakers in California.

“(Secure Communities) has burdened our local governments and put even victims and witnesses of crime at risk of deportation, making us all less safe,” Ammiano said on his website. “It has even mistakenly trapped U.S. citizens in our local jails for immigration purposes.”

The California State Sheriff’s Association couldn’t disagree more. They said state and local agencies cannot pick and choose which laws to enforce and says S-Comm only focuses on serious felony and repeat offenders.

“Now all of a sudden the sheriff has to make a decision based on this legislation, if it passes, on who [he] is and is not going to keep,” Curtis Hill, legislative representative for the association, said to the Los Angeles Times. “So is he following federal law? Or is he applying the California law?”

“The reality is we don’t see this bill being slowed down in any way, shape or form,” Hill told the newspaper. “We anticipate it will ultimately end up at the governor’s desk and we’ll see where it goes from there.

Bill AB1081 passed the state Assembly by a 47-26 vote; the Senate passed the legislation on a 21-13 party line vote.

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© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

About thekdreport

Investigative journalist

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