The most liberal immigration legislation since California's DREAM Act just passed the state Senate 21-13 — and it has a good chance of making its way through the Assembly and the governor's office, as well.
The TRUST Act, otherwise known as the Anti-Arizona Act, would more or less override the federally mandated Secure Communities program, which currently allows local cops to call up ICE anytime they come in contact with an illegal immigrant. Straight from the bill's front page:
This bill would prohibit a law enforcement official, as defined, from detaining an individual on the basis of a United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold after that individual becomes eligible for release from criminal custody, unless the local agency adopts a plan that meets certain requirements prior to or after compliance with the immigration hold, and, at the time that the individual becomes eligible for release from criminal custody, certain conditions are met.
The bill was already passed by the Assembly last year in a more infantile form, so its next hurdle looks to be a low one. And Governor Brown, though there's no way to know for sure how he'll vote, has historically swayed far left on immigration policy.
Fox News' interpretation of AB 1081 is that it would “create a sanctuary state for illegal immigrants seeking protection from Arizona's strict immigration law.”
Indeed, the ballsy California legislation does laugh in the face of Arizona's new law requiring police to racially profile everyone they pull over — and the recent Supreme Court decision that upheld it.
But the Obama Administration might be on California's side. In response to the court's pro-Arizona ruling, the Department of Homeland Security declared it would not respond to police calls that resulted from warrantless immigration checks.
“…the TRUST Act protects against the wasteful incarceration of those who would otherwise be released, held for no other reason than ICE's out of balance priorities. People shouldn't be whisked into ICE's hands before they've even had their day in court.”
L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca, a staunch supporter of Secure Communities (and SoCal's own Sheriff Joe Arpaio, in our opinion), has unsurprisingly come out in opposition of the TRUST Act.
He argues that Secure Communities is a necessary enforcement tool — even though report upon report has shown that thousands of non-criminal immigrants are getting caught in the cross-hairs of a program that's supposed to be “prioritizing the removal of individuals who present the most significant threats to public safety.”
The TRUST Act, however, seeks to solidify the definition of a “priority” offender as someone who would be jailed in any case, irregardless of their immigration status — a huge step in painting a legal gray area black.