FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 25, 2012
Sacramento - In response to the US Supreme Court ruling in the case of Arizona v. United States, Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, (D-SF) and author of California’s TRUST Act (AB 1081), issued the following statement:
While I am relieved the Supreme Court struck down portions of Arizona’s discriminatory law, it is heartbreaking that the most odious provision, the “show me your papers” section (2B), still stands. This should be called the “racial profiling” provision given the painful impact it will have.
With today’s ruling, the court has further legitimized the destructive practice of local police serving as an extension of our broken immigration system. This plunges millions of our friends, neighbors, and family members across the country into greater risk of separation from their loved ones.
But ironically, the damage was in many ways already done – by the federal “Secure” Communities or S-comm deportation program.
S-Comm has burdened our local governments and put even victims and witnesses of crime at risk of deportation, making us all less safe. It has even mistakenly trapped US citizens in our local jails for immigration purposes.
California’s TRUST Act would limit the unjust and onerous detentions for deportation in our local jails of community members who pose no threat to public safety. To ensure that our state does not become another Arizona, I respectfully urge Governor Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris to support the bill.
Statements from the sponsors of the TRUST Act follow. The bill is supported by a broad coalition of organizations and elected officials from across the state.
Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director, National Day Laborer Organizing Network: “The fact that the court could not tell whether on its face section 2(b) conflicts with federal policy means federal policy (i.e. S-Comm) is far too similar to Arizona policy. But it doesn’t have to be that way in California.”
Reshma Shamasunder, Executive Director, California Immigrant Policy Center: “With its decision on the provision that encourages racial profiling, the Supreme Court has effectively turned back the clock on our hard-won civil rights protections. In the wake of this bad ruling, California lawmakers must lead the nation in moving forward once again, by passing the TRUST Act as soon as possible.”
Angela Chan, senior staff attorney, Asian Law Caucus: ”The Trust Act will assist local police in rebuilding trust with Asian, Latino, and many other immigrant communities who are fearful of reporting crime because of S-Comm’s broad deportation dragnet.”
Background: The Arizona law, passed in April 2010, drew widespread condemnation because it would have forced local police to act as immigration agents and unleashed a wave of profiling based on appearance and accent. Immigrant advocates said the program would entangle police in what is an essentially broken immigration system.
At the heart of the similarity between S-Comm and SB 1070 is the fact that under S-Comm, the fingerprints of everyone arrested – even survivors of domestic violence arrested with their abusers – are automatically sent to ICE. Immigration officials then pressure local governments to hold immigrant community members in jail for extra time, at local expense, so that ICE can pick up the individuals for deportation. However, these “hold” requests are voluntary and a number of jurisdictions have already chosen to limit how they respond.
Nearly 7 in 10 of the 72,000 Californians deported either had no convictions or were brought in for minor offenses.
The TRUST Act passed the state Senate Public Safety committee 5-2 on June 12, 2012, and now heads to the Senate floor. The bill sets a minimum standard for local governments not to submit to ICE’s requests to detain people for deportation unless the individual has a serious or violent felony conviction and guards against profiling and wrongful detention of citizens and crime victims.
In an editorial published June 22, the New York Times endorsed the TRUST Act, stating: “The bill would enhance the ability of local departments to fight crime by restoring community trust and saving jail space for serious offenders. It deserves to become law.”