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California challenge to Secure Communities program enters next phase

Should a state be allowed to opt out of a federal immigration policy?
Should a state be allowed to opt out of a federal immigration policy?
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California moved a step closer to breaking away from a controversial federal immigration enforcement program yesterday.

Launched in 2008, Secure Communities uses fingerprint sharing to identify potential deportable immigrants held in local jails across the country. In a counter measure, California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) introduced the TRUST Act, a bill that would give local governments the opportunity to opt out of the mandatory fingerprinting initiative. The state's Senate Public Safety Committee approved the bill 5-2 yesterday. It now heads to one more committee, before the bill would go to the Senate floor. If it passes there, it would then require a “concurrence” vote in the Assembly, which passed the original bill.

Critics of Secure Communities say it creates more work for local law enforcement agencies, while the Immigration and Customs Enforcement service maintain it’s necessary to protect the public.

Should California be allowed to break away from a federal government mandate designed secure U.S. borders? Are you concerned that Secure Communities could target the wrong people?


Chris Newman, Legal Director, National Day Laborer Organizing Network

Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies, Center for Immigration Studies