Los Angeles, CA- Several sheriffs and other law enforcement officials in California have spoken out against a new immigration law, the TRUST Act, awaiting Gov. Brown’s signature.
The act bars lawmakers from detaining illegal immigrants, who could potentially be deported, unless they have committed a serious or violent crime, setting the state up to become a sanctuary city. But local law enforcement officials from Los Angeles, San Diego, and Riverside Counties say they won’t enforce the law if the Governor passes it.
A spokesman for Sherriff Lee Baca of Los Angeles County said, “It’s pretty simple: Federal Law pre-empts state law.” And further stated even if the law was enacted Baca would not enforce it in his county.
The California State Sherriff’s Association is pushing for a veto. Nick Warren, the association’s legislative director said, “The sheriffs of this state are active, unalterable or vehemently opposed.”
Sponsor of the TRUST Act, San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D.) says the bill has support from some sheriffs in the state on the grounds it would encourage immigrants to cooperate with criminal investigations.
The center of the debate hinges on Secure Communities where local law enforcement can cross-references a detainee’s fingerprints with a federal database to determine their immigration status. If an immigrant is undocumented, ICE asks that local law enforcement hold the detainee until agents can pick them. Many of the detainees face eventual deportation, although it can be challenged by an immigration lawyer, many of these detainees will be forced out of the country.
Thus far, participation in Secure Communities if voluntary, California entered in the program in 2009 and has been silent on debate over the TRUST Act.