Governor Brown hears from supporters and opponents of the TRUST Act on the eve of his signature

Supporters of the TRUST Act rally outside Central Men's Jail in downtown Los Angeles.
Supporters of the TRUST Act rally outside Central Men's Jail in downtown Los Angeles.
Ruxandra Guidi/KPCC

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Sponsors designed the TRUST Act to counter the federal Secure Communities program that shares county jails’ fingerprint data with federal law and immigration enforcement agencies.

If the governor signs it, the TRUST Act would be the first measure in the country that would require local law enforcement to release undocumented immigrants they’ve arrested once bond is posted, as long as the suspects’ records contain no serious criminal convictions.

Jamiel Shaw Sr., whose namesake son was murdered four years ago, has lobbied Governor Brown to not let the TRUST Act become law. A known gang member killed Shaw’s son, a high school football standout, within sight of his home in South LA.

The gunman was an undocumented immigrant who wasn’t turned over to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. Local law enforcement released the man from jail despite his criminal record.

In a video posted by the group Californians for Population Stabilization, Shaw explains why he doesn’t support the TRUST Act.

“Nobody called ICE; nobody checked his records; nobody did nothing," says Shaw Sr. "They just let him out into the community. My son was murdered by an illegal alien gang member. If you can’t get a case on that alone, then what the heck are you here for?”

On the opposite side of the spectrum, supporters of the TRUST Act say Shaw’s is a very unusual case. They say the measure would help law enforcement prioritize catching the most dangerous criminals.

At a recent meeting outside Los Angeles City Hall, Pablo Alvarado of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network asked supporters to phone and e-mail Governor Brown’s office to make the case for the TRUST Act.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and LA County Sheriff Lee Baca commissioned a study that suggests the county keeps 2,100 people every day on immigration hold. Most of them, the study concludes, do not have serious criminal backgrounds.

Even so, Sheriff Baca says he doesn’t believe the TRUST Act would fix that problem.