Tom Ammiano’s TRUST Act (AB 1081) passed the California Assembly in a 47-26 vote. It now heads to the Senate for approval. Ammiano says his bill "seeks to repair the damaging impacts of the Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency's “Secure" Communities program." The feds' Secure-Communities program, in which fingerprints taken in local jails are automatically shared with immigration enforcement officials, has increasingly been accused of undermining public safety without transparency or local oversight. Today’s vote came a year after San Francisco Sheriff Mike Hennessey blew the whistle on ICE's plan to silently activate S-Comm in San Francisco. And it followed on the heels of a series of damaging revelations about how S-Comm has mostly resulted in the deportation of non-violent immigrants, and has led to complaints that local municipalities received confusing information about their participation options.
Following a request from Congressmember Zoe Lofgren and Sen. Robert Menendez, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General recently announced it will investigate questions about S-Comm's success in meeting its stated criminal targets, and look into charges that misinformation was provided to states and localities about their ability to opt out. Earlier this month, llinois Gov. Pat Quinn tried to cancel his state’s participation in the program and the Congressional Hispanic Committee asked Obama to put a moratorium on the program.
“S-Comm is a farce,” Assemblymember Ammiano charged. “ICE misled local jurisdictions from the beginning and blurred the lines between law enforcement and immigration, striking unnecessary fear into innocent people’s lives. The TRUST Act is a practical solution that will re-build trust with our immigrant communities and by doing so will restore some balance to this dysfunctional and unjust program.”