A couple of weeks ago, immigration activists celebrated outside L.A. City Hall chambers after council members voted, in a symbolic gesture, to support the TRUST Act.
Meanwhile, Governor Brown hasn’t offered any explicit signs that he supports the bill. But critics, such as Jessica Vaughan, policy director at the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, argue that it would make federal immigration enforcement very difficult—at the cost of public safety.
“The TRUST Act is basically a group of legislators in Sacramento making a judgment in advance about who local law enforcement agencies have to release back on to the streets," says Vaughan. "And that just doesn’t make any sense from a public safety point of view. That decision should be up to local law enforcement agencies and ICE.”
Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, she says, doesn’t have a track record of detaining and deporting unlawful immigrants unnecessarily unless they already have serious convictions. However, ICE statistics show that since 2008, seven out of 10 unlawful immigrants who have been deported through the Secure Communities enforcement program had minor offenses or no previous convictions.
However, Vaughan contends that the TRUST Act would force local law enforcement to release perhaps as many as half of those immigrants from detention.
The California State Sheriffs’ Association and Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca also oppose the measure.