Friday, September 9, 2011

"TRUST Act 2.0" to be unveiled in January as Ammiano urges State officials to step up leadership

For immediate release: September 8, 2011

As ICE shreds state contracts, Ammiano bill to protect California from failed S-Comm program moves forward

Sacramento - As the controversy surrounding the "Secure" Communities or S-Comm deportation program reaches a national boiling point, Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D - SF) announced today that after a 4-month process of consultation with community leaders and legal experts, the TRUST Act (AB 1081) will be re-tooled in early January and then continue to move through the State Senate.

“Regardless of the Obama Administration’s blatant on-going deception about S-Comm, every day Californians are being unfairly deported leading to tragic consequences for communities both here and across the country.  Now more than ever we need to restore trust and I urge that our state leaders take a more active role on this critical issue as we continue to work towards suspending this damaging program. Together we need to do what is right for California," said Assemblymember Ammiano.

AB 1081 passed the Assembly (47-26) and the Senate Public Safety Committee (5-2) earlier this year before the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) stunned the public and legislators by shredding all S-Comm agreements <>  on August 5. DHS and ICE then declared by fiat the program would be "mandatory" without any mechanism for local oversight. ICE provided no sound legal basis for the move, which California leaders slammed as "an affront to democratic governance" and "a stunning display of bad faith."

The bill's goal is to reform California's participation in the troubled S-Comm program, which has come under fire from law enforcement leaders and civil rights advocates for deporting large numbers of innocent community members, including victims of domestic violence and street vendors arrested for nothing more than selling food without a permit. Originally, the bill would have ensured Californians were protected from the program by amending the state’s Memorandum of Agreement with ICE that the agency has now unilaterally shredded.

The bad faith move to take away state’s role in the process and conscript local police into the federal scheme is just one more legally dubious maneuver by ICE. We’re exploring every legal option available to hold the agency accountable and continue to protect California residents,” said Angela Chan of the Asian Law Caucus.

Chan and a team of attorneys are currently conducting a new, in-depth analysis, to be released in the coming days, of internal ICE documents unearthed earlier this year through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The new analysis will provide documented proof that ICE repeatedly conveyed to state officials that California's approval was required for fingerprints to be shared with ICE under S-Comm. A preview of the analysis is available by contacting Chan.

The recent doubling down by the White House in defense of the program has only inflamed nationwide opposition with walk outs and peaceful civil disobedience occurring at S-Comm hearings across the country and localities passing new legislation in protest of the program and to protect the community policing initiatives which S-Comm threatens.  Just yesterday, in a decision with national implications, Cook County, IL (where Chicago is located) voted to refuse to comply <> with ICE requests to hold immigrants needlessly in jail unless the county receives full reimbursement from the Federal Government.

Chris Newman, Legal Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network added, “The need for the TRUST Act is greater now more than ever. Californians are stronger and more united in our determination to keep our communities safe, prevent the destruction of civil liberties, and end the dragnet separation of families.”


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