Art by José Luís Agapito/Flickr (Creative Commons)
The California Assembly passed a bill 43-22 today that challenges the embattled federal immigration enforcement program known as Secure Communities. If the bill becomes law, it would allow the state to renegotiate its contract with the Homeland Security department, allowing local jurisdictions to opt out of what is now a mandatory fingerprint-sharing program. The state could choose to opt out altogether as well.
The bill, which now goes on to the senate, has been dubbed the Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tools Act, or “TRUST Act.”
The text of the California bill was posted on Multi-American late last month. Shortly afterward, the governor of Illinois announced plans to withdraw the state from the program. His decision was challenged by Department of Homeland Security officials, who said the department would not allow Illinois law enforcement to opt out of sharing information with immigration authorities.
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images
A California state bill heard in Sacramento today that challenges the embattled federal immigration enforcement program known as Secure Communities has cleared a public safety committee vote. If it eventually becomes law, the bill would make the participation of local law enforcement in the fingerprint-sharing program optional, removing California counties from the mandatory program temporarily, then allowing them to rejoin voluntarily. The bill has been dubbed the Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tools Act, or "TRUST Act."
From the text of AB 1081, introduced earlier this year by Assembly member Tom Ammiano, a Bay Area Democrat, and amended two weeks ago:
Existing law, setting forth the findings and declarations of the
Legislature, provides that all protections, rights, and remedies
available under state law, except any reinstatement remedy prohibited
by federal law, are available to all individuals regardless of
immigration status who have applied for employment, or who are or who
have been employed, within the state, and further provides that, for
purposes of enforcing specified state laws, a person's immigration
status is irrelevant to the issue of liability, and prohibits, in
proceedings or discovery undertaken to enforce those state laws, an
inquiry into a person's immigration status except where the person
seeking to make the inquiry has shown by clear and convincing
evidence that the inquiry is necessary in order to comply with
federal immigration law.
This bill would state the findings and declarations of the
Legislature with respect to a memorandum of agreement with the United
States Department of Homeland Security, regarding the implementation
of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Secure Communities
program, that the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information
within the Department of Justice entered into on May 8
April 10 , 2009.
The bill would require the
bureau to modify that agreement, according to specified requirements,
or to exercise its authority under the agreement to terminate the