How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

California's 'anti-Arizona' bill clears state Senate

Photo by Chad Miller/Flickr (Creative Commons)


A California measure dubbed by some as the "anti-Arizona" bill cleared the state Senate this afternoon by a vote of 21-13. Better known as TRUST Act, the bill proposes restricting who it is that law enforcement agencies can hold for deportation at the request of immigration officials.

The bill now heads to the Assembly - which passed a previous version last year - for a concurrence vote on its way to the governor's office.

A heavily amended version of the original approved last year, the measure proposes that local and state law enforcement officers in California only be allowed to hold immigrants with violent or otherwise serious criminal convictions for immigration officers.

The TRUST Act has somewhat of a roundabout history. About this time last year, the original bill (the acronym stands for “Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tools”) was moving through the statehouse. That version aimed to make optional California counties' and cities’ participation in the Secure Communities immigration enforcement program, which allows the fingerprints of people booked by local cops to be shared with immigration officials.

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'TRUST Act 2.0': Amended CA bill would only let cops hold convicted criminals for ICE

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The bill was rendered moot last August, after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement rescinded state agreements with the agency allowing Secure Communities to operate.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.

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'TRUST Act 2.0' would limit local cops' cooperation with Secure Communities

Photo by Chad Miller/Flickr (Creative Commons)


In August, after the federal government rescinded state contracts related to the Secure Communities immigration enforcement program, those states that at the time were trying to opt out of the controversial fingerprint-sharing program seemed to have little choice but to comply.

But there's another option, at least according to a California state legislator who is retooling a bill from last year to allow for another kind of out: Restricting how law enforcement agencies hold immigrants for deportation at the request of federal immigration officials.

The yet-to-be-introduced California bill is a retooled version of the TRUST Act, a measure approved last May by the state Assembly that would have allowed the state to renegotiate its contract with the feds and allowed local jurisdictions to opt out of Secure Communities if they wanted to. It had begun moving through the Senate when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement director John Morton sent a letter to state governors terminating the contracts, whose language did not suggest the program was mandatory.

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