Assembly passes TRUST Act to limit federal Secure Communities immigration enforcement program

SACRAMENTO – The California Assembly today passed AB 4, the TRUST Act, a bill to reign in excesses committed under the federal Secure Communities program and repair damages it caused to community trust in law enforcement.

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

AB 4 is this year’s version of the TRUST Act passed by the Legislature in 2012, but vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown, who pledged to act on the issue in his veto message. The bill – passed Thursday on a 44-22 vote – seeks to reduce the deportation of Californians under the discredited S-Comm program. The federal program, ostensibly designed to expel people with serious convictions, has instead resulted in the deportation of more than 95,000 people. More than two-thirds of those had either never been convicted of any crime, or convicted only of low level offenses.

Recent research confirms that the program has led to decreased confidence in the police in Latino communities, where residents report being much less likely to contact law enforcement.

The bill allows local jails to detain people for extra time after receiving requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement if the person has been convicted of a crime designated as a severe or violent felony. Local officials will still have the discretion to hold people, or grant release on bail, as the severity of charges warrant. These ICE requests are voluntary, according to the California Attorney General.

Assembly Members spoke on the floor of outrageous incidents that have taken place under S-Comm. These included a Bakersfield woman threatened with deportation when police were called to her home about barking dogs and a UC Berkeley academic standout who decided not to report being mugged for fear it would jeopardize his family’s immigration situation.

Assembly Member Tom Ammiano, the bill’s author, has pledged to work with Governor Brown to try to address his concerns that led to the 2012 veto, so that the bill could go into effect and reduce the deportations starting in 2014.

Assembly Member Jim Frazier, who represents Antioch, voted in favor of the bill, according to the legislative record, which can be seen by clicking here.

To read the entire text of the bill, click here.

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