California lawmakers have passed the TRUST Act, which gives added protection from deportation and are now awaiting Gov. Brown’s signature.
Under the TRUST Act, authorities would be prohibited from detaining an undocumented immigrant on an immigration hold if they have not been charged with or have been convicted of a serious crime. The intention of the law is to build trust between law enforcement and immigrant communities which can be crucial to criminal investigations.
The bill overrides Secure Communities, a federal program that checks an individual’s legal status and can direct local law enforcement to detain a person suspected of being undocumented. It is the most liberal immigration law passed in the state since California’s Dream Act. This would set California up to be a sanctuary state.
The bill was sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D- San Francisco who said, “What we are trying to do here is protect the innocent. The fact that you’re undocumented doesn’t make you a criminal.”
This bill brings into play the issue of whether local law enforcement has the authority to enforce immigration law. Each state’s ability to enforce immigration was also central to Arizona’s tough immigration law.
It is unclear if Gov. Jerry Brown will sign the legislation as he can be cautious about immigration matters.
The bill naturally has critics who believe it would cause the crime rate to rise dramatically.
Undocumented immigrants, regardless of their criminal history are always in danger of being detained and deported. Avoiding this fate is possible, but it often takes a savvy immigration attorney to obtain a visa or build a strong deportation defense.