Last September, Governor Brown vetoed an earlier version of the TRUST Act. At the time he said that the bill was flawed and that it could potentially release immigrants with criminal backgrounds back to the streets.
Since then, Brown has met with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials (ICE), with the State Sheriff’s Association, and now, with immigration activists. There is growing consensus about the need to find a compromise on California’s enforcement of federal immigration laws. State Attorney General Kamala Harris, for example, recently advised local law enforcement agencies to use discretion before they turn over low-level criminals over to ICE.
Chris Newman, legal director for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, says he has hope for the governor’s support of the TRUST Act this time around.
“California has the opportunity to do something that is clearly within its legal authority that will also help propel the federal immigration reform debate forward," he explains. "Once the bill is signed into law, it will constitute a moment where the tide will have turned.”
ICE officials would not comment on the private talks with the governor.
But a spokeswoman for Brown says he will “closely review any legislation that reaches his desk.”
“Our hope and expectation is that we can arrive at some common understanding about language with the governor before the first hearing," Newman says. "Obviously, the governor vetoed the last bill because he believed there were certain categories of crimes that were omitted, and we have to come to some compromise.”
The first hearing for the TRUST Act is expected in early February.