AB1081, the Trust Act, passed another hurdle when it sailed through the State Appropriations Committee May 18 by a vote of 11-0 with Democrats voting unanimously for the bill. It now advances to the Assembly Floor where the fight is expected to be fierce.
Causa Justa, along with Mujeres Unidas y Activas, the Graton Day Labor Center, the Day Labor Program, and other allies visited lawmakers at the State Capitol on Monday, May 16 to ask them to support the passage of the Trust Act, (AB1081).
Sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano and co-sponsored by Gilbert Cedillo (D-LA), Bill Monning (D-Carmel) and Senator Leland Yee (D-SF), the Trust Act would give communities the right to opt-out of the controversial Secure Communities enforcement program, which has been widely criticized across the country.
S-Comm is a federal program that enlists local law enforcement to take part in civil immigration enforcement through the sharing of fingerprints when someone is arrested. This allows ICE to detain and deport undocumented immigrants.
“Enough is enough with S-Comm. The truth is that ICE misled the public and elected officials about the program. Unfortunately, its real focus seems to be more about media spin than public safety. Seven in ten Californians deported under S-Comm had committed no crime or were picked up for minor offenses like traffic violations,” said Assemblymember Ammiano. “This bill is a practical solution that lets local governments decide for themselves and restores some balance to this dysfunctional and unjust program.”
California was one of the earliest states to sign up for the program in Spring 2009. The state has become the so-called model for the Secure Communities Program, a program riddled with loopholes and problems.
"Civil rights are human rights and the right to a day in court or due process is one that everyone regardless of color or status has had in this country since 1964,” said Cinthya Muñoz Ramos, immigrant rights organizer for Causa Justa :: Just Cause.
San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey, a supporter of the Trust Act, said that San Francisco was told it could opt out of the program and then was told it couldn’t. ICE has given inconsistent answers regarding the right of unwilling jurisdictions to not take part in the program.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Califronia) has called for an investigation into S-Comm and alleges that Dept. of Homeland Security officials misled the public about whether the program was voluntary. Lofgren is the top Democrat in the House immigration subcommittee.
In February, Ammiano introduced AB1081, or, the Trust Act, which among other things, would allow local communities to decide whether or not opt-in to the program.
Hennessey told committee members at an earlier hearing before the State Assembly Public Safety Committee on April 26 that while S-Comm’s goal is to deport those convicted of serious crimes, it “sweeps up virtually anybody. Anyone in a traffic matter, anyone who steps forward as a victim of crime and their fingerprints are run... it’s been a very frustrating experience.”
He added, “It’s been detrimental to public safety in San Francisco in terms of creating distrust between local law enforcement and residents and citizens here.”
Causa Justa :: Just Cause fully supports the Trust Act because
• AB1081 adds safeguards to protect ALL Californians from civil rights violations
•It will help prevent racial profiling.
•It protects children, crime victims, immigrants and survivors of domestic violence from being wrongfully targeted by authorities.
• It creates transparency and accountability in the form of reporting requirements to allow the public to understand how the program works and who is being impacted.
•It upholds basic rights to a day in court.
•It allows the right of local governments to choose whether or not to participate in S-Comm
“It's time to stop the criminalization of people of color and immigrants. We support the Trust Act because it adds safeguards to protect ALL Californians, from discrimination and racial profiling,” said Muñoz Ramos.
Stated Ammiano: “S-Comm is an extremely problematic program…. While the United States’ ICE stated mission is to target… serious offenses, the program casts far too wide a net. ICE’s own data shows over 70 percent of people deported under S-Comm had no convictions or were accused only of minor offenses. Unfortunately this program is unfairly impacting innocent people, victims of crime, and even survivors of domestic violence who have called the police for help.”