The Public Safety Committee of the California State Assembly approved the TRUST Act, which limits the amount of time local authorities can hold people for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Under the current version of the bill, ICE hold requests would only be allowed for undocumented citizens who have serious or violent felony convictions.
Thomas Saénz, President and General Counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), said today’s vote is “an important step toward ending the disruption that occurs daily of families, communities, and businesses” and “an important step in support of federal immigration reform.”
According to the California Immigrant Policy Center, 93,500 Californians have been deported under the Secure Communities program, which called for cooperation between local law enforcement and federal agencies. In December, California’s attorney general confirmed that upholding “hold requests” is voluntary and is not required by local law enforcement agencies.
Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a previous Trust Act bill over what crimes should be excluded from the Trust Act.
Currently, though, immigrant rights groups say families with no criminal records have been rounded up under the Secure Communities program. Ruth Montaño was almost deported after someone complained of her barking dogs, said Jon Rodney, of the California Immigrant Policy Center.
“We are calling on the Governor to sit down with us and make good on his commitment to advance a version of the bill which protects Californians from further deportation,” says Rodney.
The bill needs to be approved by the Assembly and Senate before going to the Governor for a vote.