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.