AB 1081 – Rebuilding Community Trust with the TRUST Act

We’re all safer when we foster trust and transparency between all communities and the local police.

But the out-of-control “Secure” Communities (known as S-Comm) deportation program is destroying those relationships, making us less safe and burdening our local governments.

The TRUST Act, sponsored by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, will rebuild the community trust in law enforcement that S-Comm has shattered. It will ease the program’s unfair burden on local governments. Specifically, AB 1081 will:

–  Set a clear, minimum standard for local governments not to submit to Immigration
and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requests to detain people for deportation unless
that individual has a serious or violent felony conviction.

–  Guard against racial and ethnic profiling and wrongful detention of citizens and crime
victims. Jurisdictions that do choose to detain people with serious convictions for
deportation will develop commonsense plans to make sure that others aren’t swept

–  Remove all counties from the federal immigration effort (at least temporarily).
Officials in each county would have to approve a new resolution to join S-Comm, and
would have the chance to address local concerns instead of being forced to accept a
boiler plate, identical agreement as the system currently works.

S-Comm is a dragnet that includes the scanning of suspects’ fingerprints to check their status in a database in all of California’s 58 counties. It unfairly sweeps up community members for deportation, even survivors of domestic violence who call the police for help.  Immigrants want to live in safe communities, but making victims and witnesses of crime vulnerable to deportations undermines community trust in police.  In California, about 7 in 10 of the 65,000 people deported under S-Comm had no convictions or were charged with issues as minor as selling food without a permit or not having mud flaps.

Last year, California was on the brink of reforming our participation in this dragnet, but at the last second, ICE shredded its contract with the state. The new TRUST Act heals S-Comm’s damaging impact in a new way, by limiting burdensome immigration detentions in our local jails.  The Act protects against the wasteful incarceration of those who would otherwise be released, held for no other reason than ICE’s out of balance priorities.  At a time when states like Arizona and Alabama have passed hateful, discriminatory legislation that attacks and offends our most basic American values, the nation urgently needs California’s leadership on immigration reform.

Join the ACLU in telling the nation that our families belong together.  Rebuild community trust in law enforcement.