Trust Act on track to become law in California

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    People rally for the TRUST Act.

    People rallying in support of the TRUST Act during a protest. (Photo/arcof72)

    The Trust Act is on the verge of becoming law in California, after the immigration bill failed to do so last year.

    The California State Assembly passed the Trust Act on Tuesday with a concurrence vote of 48-22, sending the bill to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk for his signature. The vote came a day after the California State Senate voted 24-10 to approve the bill.

    The Trust Act would mandate local police officers to refrain from detaining undocumented immigrants who haven’t committed serious crimes. Right now, local police officers are required through the federal Secure Communities program to check the immigration status of anyone they arrest as well as detain undocumented immigrants, regardless of what types of crimes they’ve committed, until immigration authorities take them into custody.

    But if the Trust Act becomes law, local police officers will only be required to detain undocumented immigrants with serious criminal records.

    “It’s a travesty that we’re wasting local tax dollars deporting non-criminals and undermining the ability of local law enforcement to protect our communities,” stated Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), a lead sponsor of the bill. “The TRUST Act will put a stop to devastating family separations and put the focus back on putting away serious offenders.”

    For three years now, de León has been working alongside Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) and other state lawmakers to turn the Trust Act into law.

    The Trust Act’s future rests on Gov. Brown’s hands

    Though advocates of the Trust Act feel confident the bill will become law, it still faces one last challenge. It needs the signature of Brown, who vetoed a similar bill last September because he said it contained “significant flaws.”

    In a letter explaining why he vetoed the bill, the Democratic governor said his biggest concern centered on the list of offenses that were listed in the bill as serious crimes. He felt that the list omitted many serious crimes, such as child abuse, drug trafficking and selling weapons.

    However, Brown stated in the letter that the bill could be “fixed” and vowed to work with the state legislature to change the language of the bill.

    Ammiano has been working with Brown’s office to revise the bill. The lawmaker’s office stated the new version of the bill “focuses on violent and dangerous criminals while making sure that constructive Californians who pose no problems are not held.”

    Brown has until Oct. 13 to sign the Trust Act into law. Advocates of the bill are hoping he will do so.

    “California families are now looking to Governor Brown to sign the TRUST Act to relieve the suffering caused by S-Comm and wrongful deportations and to make California a leader that makes real change in the immigration reform debate,” said Pablo Alvarado, executive director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

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