Secure Communities Vital to Californians’ Safety; TRUST Act More Alien Pandering

Published on September 8th, 2012

In late August, the California Assembly passed AB 1081, better known as the TRUST Act. If implemented, AB 1081 would gut the Department of Homeland Security’s Secure Communities program. Assemblyman Tom Ammino spouted the usual false and disingenuous reasons why the TRUST Act is in every California residents best interests when, in fact, it only helps deportable aliens, their political advocates and their well-formed, well-funded lobby

According to Ammiano, he wants to spare local police what he calls the burden and expense of confining the wrong people on Immigration and Customs and Enforcement’s behalf. Ammiano claims that’s what happens under Secure Communities. Elaborating with still more misinformation, Ammiano added that he also wants to avoid the supposed damage done to public safety when immigration enforcement is, to use his word, “indiscriminate” and when deportation decisions are delegated to local police.

Finally, Ammiano dragged out the oldest saw in the books when he said that crime victims and witnesses in illegal immigrant communities will be too afraid to cooperate with the police if they fear that any encounter could mean being reported to ICE.

Not a shred of evidence exists to support Ammiano’s charges. First, a comprehensive review of the ICE database found no records of any citizens detained or arrested under Secure Communities. An internal DHS report confirmed that ICE officers use Secure Communities properly. Read the report here. Second, in May President Obama announced that aliens with only traffic violations would not be put into deportation proceedings. This would eliminate the “minor offenders” that concern TRUST Act proponents. [Fewer Illegal Immigrants Stopped for Traffic Violations Would Face Deportation, by Julia Preston, New York Times, April 27, 2012]

Third, Secure Communities has the 100 percent backing of the California State Sheriffs Association which urged Governor Brown to veto the TRUST Act. The National Sheriffs’ Association also supports Secure Communities.

In his May, 2011 Los Angeles Times editorial, L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca gave two examples of why he’s in favor of Secure Communities. One, in January a local police agency arrested a man driving with a suspended license. But a subsequent fingerprint screening revealed that he was also a convicted felon illegally in the United States from Mexico. His record included three prior drug trafficking convictions and six deportations in 11 years.

Two, a 32-year-old man was booked into the Los Angeles County Jail on DUI charges. His fingerprints revealed not only that he was in the United States illegally but that he had previously been deported after his conviction for killing a child in 1997. [Lee Baca: Let Us Deport the Bad Guys, by Lee Baca, Los Angeles Times, May 16, 2011]

Secure Communities identified both criminals. As Sheriff Baca concluded, concerns about Secure Communities like those of Ammiano are “misplaced”; the program “works.” Californians can believe Sheriff Baca, a dedicated law enforcement officer first elected in 1998, or an agenda driven, divisive politician like Ammiano.

In the meantime, Governor Brown must sign before the TRUST Act becomes law. The rub: as attorney general, Brown originally signed the Secure Communities pact with the Obama administration. [Nation’s First ‘Anti-Arizona’ Law Likely Headed to Governor Jerry Brown’s Desk, by Matt O’Brien, Contra Costa Times, July 6, 2012]

FAX your local sheriff through this CAPS Action Alert here to make sure your law enforcement representative backs Secure Communities.

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