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California Assembly Responds to Secure Communities Program With the TRUST Act

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secure communities infographicThe Secure Communities program has been feeling the heat lately. After Illinois Governor, Pat Quinn, decided to pull out of the program, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA) called for an investigation into questionable ICE practices regarding the program (i.e.: that DHS lied by saying that communities could opt out when they really couldn’t), more officials have been coming out in its opposition.

Enter the TRUST Act: a bill currently being debated in California that would allow counties in California to opt out of participating in the Secure Communities program.

Sponsored by California Assembly member, Tom Ammiano, the TRUST Act passed the California assembly just yesterday:

On Thursday, the Assembly passed the TRUST Act by a 43-22 vote. The measure would require that only the fingerprints of convicted felons be run through federal databases. The bill, sponsored by Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), would essentially reset the rules for how California counties participate in Secure Communities.

Secure Communities was touted as a way to help identify and deport illegal immigrants convicted of serious crimes. But over the past year, the program has come under fire from those who say it has failed to track down or deport dangerous immigrants. Department of Homeland Securities’ statistics indicate that many of those deported under the program had never been convicted of a crime or were guilty of only minor crimes.

The legislation would essentially give counties – many of which have riled against the program – a choice. Under California’s Secure Communities agreement, all counties are forced to comply with the program, whether they like it or not.