Sacramento – The American Civil Liberties Union of California today called Gov. Jerry Brown’s decision to veto AB1081, known as the TRUST ACT, a missed opportunity to protect Californians from unnecessary and unjustified detentions and deportations, but vowed to continue the fight to see it become law.
“Californians don’t want their local police and sheriff’s deputies enforcing federal immigration law,” said Julia Harumi Mass, staff attorney with the ACLU of Northern California. “Doing so makes victims and witnesses afraid to report crimes, wastes scarce taxpayer resources and encourages racial profiling. We’re sorry the governor missed an opportunity to chart a different course from states like Arizona and to preserve the traditional function of local law enforcement – working with communities to keep them safe. We’ll continue to fight not only for the TRUST Act, but will also work against improper immigration detainer enforcement through litigation and local and statewide advocacy.”
The ACLU of California has heard from hundreds of people who have found themselves incarcerated by local police for immigration purposes and subject to deportation following what should have been routine contacts with law enforcement. They include street vendors in downtown Los Angeles, arrested by the LAPD for not having a California ID and detained for days on unjustified ICE holds. Under normal circumstances, police would cite and release them. Other cases include motorist Juan Chavez, who was arrested Friday night in Anaheim after a driver rear-ended his car, damaging it and injuring Juan. When Anaheim police responded to the scene, they arrested Juan despite the accident not being his fault for driving without a license and impounded his wrecked car for 30 days. Anaheim police are currently unjustly detaining him on an ICE hold.
Following an arrest by L.A. County sheriff’s deputies, acclaimed British film director Duncan Roy was trapped in Los Angeles County jail for three months on an unjustified ICE hold while awaiting trial. County officials would not allow him to post his bail, in violation of state and federal law. In another instance, LAPD officers responded to an emergency call from Isaura Garcia when her boyfriend became violent, but arrested her instead of him and placed her in deportation proceedings.
The TRUST Act would have ensured that the federal immigration program “Secure Communities” functions as originally intended, targeting serious criminals.
The TRUST Act received nationwide support, including from members of Congress, the New York Times, and Rev. Jesse Jackson. In California, the bill had widespread support from public leaders such as Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Cardinal Roger Mahoney and members of law enforcement.