Sacramento – The California Assembly passed AB 1081, the TRUST Act, 48-26 on concurrence today, sending the measure to the Governor for his signature. The Governor has until September 30 to sign the bill.
“This is a bill that speaks to humanity,” said Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, the bill’s author. “It prevents unjust treatment of productive Californians, while allowing local law enforcement to continue to focus on dangerous criminals. It will restore trust to people who have been subjected to the excesses of federal immigration authorities.”
“More than that, however, it restores California to the Secure Communities agreement that Gov. Jerry Brown signed when he was Attorney General. That agreement was to enable federal immigration authorities to focus on the dangerous people, not on the tamale vendors and innocent California workers. The votes in the Legislature represent the growing support for the TRUST Act among all Californians and should encourage the Governor to sign this and make it law.”
Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez was joined by Assemblymembers Luis A. Alejo, Norma Torres, Das Williams, Gilbert Cedillo and Charles Calderon in speaking from the floor in support of the bill.
“I am proud to support Assemblymember Ammiano’s efforts to ensure every person, regardless of their immigration status, receive just treatment by law enforcement officials,” Speaker John A. Pérez said, after the vote. “We clearly need comprehensive immigration reform from the federal government, but in the meantime, we need to ensure that the men and women who are working in California and contributing to our economy are treated with dignity and respect by law enforcement, and I am proud to support Mr. Ammiano’s efforts on this important issue.”
“This bill will restore trust among community members and law enforcement officials,” said Senator Kevin de Leόn, principal co-author. “And it is precisely this trust that will strengthen the safety in our communities.”
AB 1081, also known as the TRUST ACT and sometimes as the anti-Arizona bill, would save local resources and aid community policing by curtailing excess use of local jails for civil immigration enforcement. Recent reports estimate the cost of immigration holds is as much as $65 million a year in California.
Under TRUST, local law enforcement would have clear guidelines on when not to submit to immigration holds from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), while still allowing holds for those convicted of serious or violent felonies.
“With the passage of AB 1081, California has taken a major step toward ensuring that immigrant communities are able to continue to go about their normal lives without fear of being wrongfully detained for their immigration status,” said Assemblymember Mike Eng.
“The Trust Act will help ensure that innocent families are not split apart, and yet allows county jails to detain those who commit the most serious crimes,” said Assemblymember Luis A. Alejo. “In California, the vast majority of persons deported so far under the Secure Communities federal program have been those who no criminal charges or with minor offenses. AB 1081 is about keeping families together and amending the law to do what it was originally intended for.”
“The Trust Act sends the message that California will not tolerate the immigration abuses that have engendered fear and mistrust among families and individuals caught in the crosshairs of a broken immigration system,” said Assemblymember Nancy Skinner.
“I am proud to co-author AB 1081 and very pleased to see the measure heading to the Governor,” said Sen. Leland Yee. “The TRUST Act helps restore dignity to many people in our communities and will help alleviate some of the negative impacts they face as a result of poor federal immigration policies.”
Amendments were made to the bill in the Senate. The changes remove a requirement for counties to develop a specific plan to guard against racial profiling and other excesses. This was done to address concerns expressed by the state Sheriffs’ Association. The changes give additional discretion to local authorities, enabling them to submit to holds those who have been formally charged with a serious or violent felony.
It is referred to as the anti-Arizona, because, unlike Arizona law, it relieves the burden on local law enforcement to act on behalf of immigration authorities. The TRUST Act measure seeks to restore trust lost under the federal S-Comm program. Under S-Comm, ICE figures show, tens of thousands of Californians have been deported, even when they have not been convicted of a serious crime – sometimes when they have committed no crime or been victims of crimes.
The use of holds against productive Californians has, at times, led to hesitation to report crimes by those who fear deportation. As a result, the bill has had strong support – not just from rights organizations, but from a number of local police chiefs and mayors in California cities. Although the Sheriffs Association opposed the bill, even that group was not unified, as Ammiano pointed out during debate, mentioning support for the bill from the Sheriff of Santa Clara County.
Ammiano expressed thanks to those who spoke on the bill’s behalf, and to co-authors. Sen. Kevin de León was principal co-author. Other co-authors were Assembly Members, Luis A. Alejo, Susan A. Bonilla, Gilbert Cedillo, Mike Eng, William W. Monning, V. Manuel Pérez, Nancy Skinner and Mariko Yamada. They were joined by Senators Ron Calderon, Loni Hancock and Leland Yee.
The bill’s sponsors were the Asian Law Caucus, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and the California Immigrant Policy Center.
The bill is supported by the police chiefs of Oakland and Palo Alto, numerous mayors, and over a 100 civil rights and community-based organizations. In recent weeks, the TRUST Act has gained the support of the California State Democratic Party and various cities and local government leaders. Additionally, the highest governing body of the national Episcopal Church recently called for the halt of the “Secure” Communities Program.