House Dems urge Brown to sign TRUST Act

Gov. Jerry Brown got a letter from 28 California House Democrats this week urging him to sign the TRUST Act, which would limit how the state’s law enforcement officers cooperate with federal immigration efforts.

The lawmakers – including all but two of the Bay Area’s House members – wrote that the bill “sets clear, uniform standards to limit burdensome detentions of aspiring citizens by local law enforcement solely on the basis of federal immigration detainer requests. The measure is designed to enhance public safety and protect civil liberties, while also promoting fiscal responsibility at the state and local levels.”

More than 100,000 people have been deported from California under federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Secure Communities (S-Comm) program, the lawmakers noted. “Civic and faith leaders from California and across the nation have forcefully argued that we should not deport today those who could be on the road to citizenship tomorrow.”

Furthermore, there’s evidence that S-Comm has reduced crime victims’ willingness to cooperate with police lest they themselves end up being deported, and that’s not good for public safety, the House members wrote.

Brown vetoed a version of the TRUST Act last year. But the lawmakers noted the current version – AB 4 by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco – “gives law enforcement much broader discretion to honor detainer requests.”

“It will ensure that those who have not been convicted of any crime, have only been convicted of minor crimes, or those who are only identified by the S-Comm program because of their immigration history are not held on costly and unfair federal immigration detainers,” they wrote.

The only Bay Area House members who didn’t sign the letter were Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, and Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton. A Speier staffer said she hasn’t talked to Ammiano about the bill yet, and “she wants to do that before she takes a position.” McNerney’s office didn’t immediately answer an e-mail seeking comment.

The Assembly passed AB 4 with a 44-22 vote on May 16. It now awaits a state Senate floor vote; if it passes, it’ll go to Brown’s desk.

UPDATE @ 12:25 P.M.: “I support the sentiment of the TRUST Act,” McNerney said by email. “We need change in our country in the form of comprehensive immigration reform. Our country is founded on a long and proud immigrant history, and we need to find a clear path to citizenship for the law-abiding and hard-working people who want to join the United States of America. These people deserve a defined and manageable path to citizenship.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • GV Haste

    “to limit burdensome detentions of aspiring citizens ”

    OK, can we assume this only applies to “aspiring citizens” under the current federal immigration laws.

    But that when and if we pass the Senate Gang of Eight comprehensive immigration reform bill, that California won’t stand in the way of federal law regarding future “aspiring citizens” who arrive undocumented after passage.

    In other words, those encouraging us to pass the Senate immigration reform tell us that AFTER passage, we’ll all agree there must be enforcement.
    So I am asking is that AFTER passage will California authorities be able to cooperate with federal enforcement, or will all the hundreds of thousands of future undocumented immigrants be allowed to come to, work in, and live in California, knowing state and local law enforcement will never bother them (as is mostly the case now)

    As many suspect, after passage of the much wanted “comprehensive immigration reform” those who want no enforcement will once again object to any enforcement even though they urged passage of the Senate Bill which includes enforcement provisions both at the border and internally.

    So what do we have, a new bill that will be enforced, or a repeat of 1986?

    A fair question to ask.

    Remember, according to this law, AB 4, Ammiano would prohibit law enforcement from holding and turning over a illegal immigrant who has broken into and burglarized your house, your neighbors house and 10 other houses on your block.

    As long as that criminal didn’t use a fire arm when robbing those dozen homes, then this law says California officials shouldn’t cooperate with ICE and turn him over.

    You see, breaking into those homes isn’t the qualified “serious” felony under the definitions
    in the bill.

    Oh yes, and that criminal could haul away the loot in your family car and still no be the right kind of “serious” criminal. But DON’T detain him on a immigration hold!

    See the definition of serious felony

  • Elwood

    Conceivably, there are 11 millions “aspiring citizens”.

    Should we “TRUST” them too?

    I’m sure Ammiano and other San Francisco bleeding heart liberal fools favor it.

  • Sgt. George Peterson

    “The measure is designed to enhance public safety and protect civil liberties, while also promoting fiscal responsibility at the state and local levels.”

    How can we Enhance Public safety by encouraging and defending people who have broken the law? When did our politicians get the power to pick and choose which laws to enforce? Good people strive every day to obey the onerous laws of this state and country at much frustration and expense. When the law is arbitrarily enforced by politicians who have political agendas public safety is at risk. When millions of people can legally break the law, the incentive to obey the law in general is reduced.

    The Liberal theme of protecting an illegal alien’s non existent civil liberties is absolutely insane. They are constantly confusing civil liberty with humanitarianism. This law intends to protect something that does not exist while destroying the real civil liberty of it’s citizens.

    Any time I hear a Dem talk about fiscal responsibility I laugh. This law will only encourage more illegal immigration, which in turn will cost the tax payer more.