Governor Brown: Put an end to “In”- Secure Communities, and sign the Trust Act!

Photo Credit: The League of Women Voters of California

This weekend, Governor Jerry Brown, of the state of California, must make his decision regarding the Trust Act. The Trust Act “would require local police departments to release people who have been arrested once their bond is posted or their sentence is up as long as they have no serious convictions and even if federal officials have issued a detainer.” Although Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) claims that Secure Communities, “prioritizes removal of criminal aliens, those who pose a threat to public safety, and repeat immigration violators” the results of the program very clearly contradict these stated goals. In practice, Secure Communities has led to the deportation of thousands of innocent people, including victims of crime, or people convicted of minor crimes, such as traffic violations. This program has heightened the fear of deportation within immigrant communities, who now see local law enforcement as ICE agents.

Hopefully, Governor Brown realizes that Secure Communities has done more damage to communities than good, and chooses to sign the Trust Act. In Los Angeles, between October 1, 2008 and June 21, 2010, ICE  issued 14,771 detainer requests, the majority of which went to people with minor violations; definitely not “the worst of the worst.” Without the Trust Act, basically anyone who comes in contact with the law is at risk of deportation. Local law enforcement should stand for public safety, not instill fear and tear families apart! What kind of a justice system makes an entire population afraid of them? We need change, and we need the Trust Act. It’s all up to Governor Brown now.

2 responses to “Governor Brown: Put an end to “In”- Secure Communities, and sign the Trust Act!

  1. Not only will not adopting the Trust Act instill fear in the immigrant community, but it will create unsafe communities. For example, LAPD has found that courageous acts of witnesses in speaking up after being present in a crime scene have diminished. William J. Bratton is chief of the Los Angeles Police Department states that many cases were being solved after a crime scene due to the witnesses declaring what they saw. For example, “on March 12, Juan Garcia, a 53-year-old homeless man, was brutally murdered in an alley off 9th and Alvarado streets in the Westlake District, just west of downtown Los Angeles. At first, the police were stumped; there were no known witnesses and few clues. Then a 43-year-old undocumented immigrant who witnessed the crime came forward and told the homicide detectives from the Rampart station what he saw. Because of his help, a suspect was identified and arrested a few days later while hiding on skid row”.

    However, these types of acts have decreased due to the inevitable fear that undocumented immigrants have for police. The lack of witness declarations is increasingly apparent within highly undocumented-immigrant-populated communities of Los Angeles. Bratton declares that his police men do not participate in reporting undocumented immigrants to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) because it prevents them from doing their job. It becomes almost impossible to solve a crime for the police men if the victims or witnesses are unwilling to talk because of the fear of being deported. Overall, criminals are the ones who benefit most when immigrants are fearful of the police, and it is time to stop them from attaining such advantage.

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