In what is surely a major letdown, the California Governor has decided to veto the bill that would have limited the use of Secure Communities in the state. The TRUST Act would have minimized the humanitarian impact of the federal program Secure Communities, and would have prohibited state and local jails from detaining suspects for immigration purposes.
What Secure Communities does is utilize immigration detainers in order to hold those individuals who are candidates for removal from the country for longer so that ICE officers can assume custody. The TRUST Act would have prevented the detainers from allowing that individuals be kept in jail past their release time in cases where they had not been charged with or had been convicted of a felony classified as violent or serious under state law. Even though the government has issued detainers for decades, the expansion of Secure Communities has led to federal immigration authorities having access to the fingerprints of all persons arrested by local police departments to a whole new level.
On the bright side, Governor Jerry Brown said that he could not sign the bill only because he thought it omitted many crimes he considered serious but that are not classified as violent or serious felonies under California law. He agreed that the federal government should not be asking state and local jails to hold suspects on its behalf, particularly if they were arrested for minor crimes and pose no reasonable threat to the community. Gov. Brown said he will work with California lawmakers to fix the bill and will see to it that the revised version becomes law.
The TRUST Act has a wide range of support, including former Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, and 22 Democratic members of the House of Representatives, including former Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi. We look to the future to see that this bill gets codified into law.