Yesterday afternoon, the California State Senate approved AB 1081 – the TRUST Act – with a vote of 21-13. Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) is the bill's author; State Senator Kevin de León (D - Los Angeles) served as floor manager for the vote and presented the bill to the Senate.
“We congratulate the California Senate on its leadership in passing this legislation, which is a model for states seeking to reject Arizona’s approach of immigration-based policing,” said Jennie Pasquarella, staff attorney for the ACLU of Southern California. “The TRUST Act sends a strong message that California is not Arizona.  It will protect against racial profiling and allow our local police to do their jobs and focus on public safety.”
The bill sets a clear, minimum standard for local governments not to submit to burdensome requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain people for deportation unless the individual has a serious or violent felony conviction.
The TRUST Act is a response to the federal immigration program “Secure Communities” (“S-Comm”).  The federal government billed S-Comm as a program aimed at identifying serious criminal aliens for deportation, but 7 out of 10 of those deported under S-Comm in California had either no conviction or were only convicted of minor offenses.  Nearly 75,000 Californians have been deported under the program.  Victims of crimes and U.S. citizens are among the many individuals who have been targeted and detained under S-Comm.
A recent report commissioned by the ACLU/SC and Los Angeles County Sheriff Baca found that an average 2,100 people per day are detained in Los Angeles County jails on immigration holds, the vast majority of whom are not serious criminal offenders.  In 2011, 14 percent of the County jails population was transferred to immigration officials.
The TRUST Act heads back to the state assembly for a concurrence vote after summer recess, following which the bill would reach the governor's desk.