Photo by antonychammond/Flickr (Creative Commons)
A year ago, a bill was moving through the California state legislature that aimed to make optional counties and cities' participation in the controversial Secure Communities immigration enforcement program.
At the time, California was one of several states in which some state and law enforcement officials had come out against the federal program, which allows the fingerprints of people booked at local jails to be shared with immigration officials.
The bill was rendered moot last August, after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement rescinded state agreements with the agency allowing Secure Communities to operate. The decision essentially made the program mandatory, leaving states no choice but to go along.
As a counter to that, the same California lawmaker behind last year's bill is now pushing an alternative dubbed TRUST Act 2.0. The idea is for local agencies to work with ICE as mandated, but only to a point, since the bill proposes restricting who it is that law enforcement agencies can hold for deportation at the request of ICE.
It's not a holiday. Nor does it have anything to do with a 1987 federal proclamation declaring October 28 of that year "National Immigrants Day," which isn't a holiday either, but which some have celebrated on that day since.
What's being referred to today as the 16th annual Immigrant Day is rather a day of activism in Sacramento, what one advocacy site last year described as "a statewide advocacy day organized to champion immigrant integration in our community."
Advocacy, civil rights, faith and other groups converge the state capitol to rally, and to lobby for legislation that would favorably affect immigrants. Busloads of participants from throughout the state traveled to Sacramento to attend a rally today at the Capitol Building, followed by meetings at legislators' offices.
The California Immigrant Policy Center, a group involved in the organizing, has this on its website: