California’s Governor, Jerry Brown, only has until THIS weekend to sign the bill, and we’re asking everyone to call (916) 445-2841 to ask Gov. Brown to sign the bill TODAY.
Lawrence Downes in the New York Times today explains the significance of the TRUST Act:
The bill requires state and local authorities to be more prudent when the federal government wants to use their jails as immigration holding cells.
Presently, when Immigration and Customs Enforcement runs inmates’ fingerprints through its databases and finds someone it believes is deportable, it often asks local authorities to hold that person to be picked up for deportation. Most police departments try to comply, though doing so is voluntary.
Under California’s bill, local police would agree to hold inmates for ICE only if they have been convicted or charged with a serious or violent felony. If the inmates are noncriminals or minor offenders who would otherwise be let go, they would not be turned over to ICE.
As the bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, said: “We want police to distinguish between the woman selling tamales and the gang member who has a record.”
While current US immigration policies are supposed to focus on deporting criminal immigrants while de-prioritizing the removal of hardworking immigrant mothers and fathers, the reality is that 400,000 people are deported every year, many of whom have no criminal records whatsoever.
Extremist, anti-immigrant states like Arizona and Alabama want to exacerbate this problem, and have passed laws pushing for the mass deportation of immigrants. California wants to take a different tack, and head in the opposite direction: it wants to direct limited resources toward removing criminals, while staying away from the persecution of neighbors, friends, and community members.
As Lawrence Downes finishes, “Mr. Brown should listen to the voices of the immigrants, civil-rights advocates, police chiefs and sheriffs, local elected officials, members of Congress, Catholic bishops and other religious leaders who have implored him to lead California out of that wilderness. He should sign the Trust Act.”
You can help turn this bill into law. Call Gov. Brown at (916) 445-2841 and ask him to sign the TRUST Act today.