Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into a law a bill that prohibits law enforcement agencies from detaining undocumented immigrants arrested for minor crimes for deportation if they have been arrested for a minor crime.
The so-called “Trust Act,” authored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiana, D-San Francisco and signed by the governor on Oct. 5, sets strict statewide standards on how police share information about arrested immigrants with federal immigration authorities when complying with the federal Secure Communities program, which required law enforcement agencies to check the immigration status of anyone arrested.
Enforcement of Secure Communities varied across the state. In some areas, police agencies would hold people arrested for minor crimes for 48-hours, and some claim the law has resulted in innocent people being deported.
Secure Communities, according to the ACLU, permits the detention of immigrants based on their immigration status, which they say “undermines the proper process of law and reduces trust between immigrant communities and local enforcement agencies the law.”
The new law still allows for those arrested or covicted of a serious offence to be detained by authorities for 48 hours before they are transferred to a federal deportation center.
This law allows victims to report crimes, and trust police officers to use their judgement as to how use limited jail space, said Norma Chavez Peterson, executive director of the ACLU in Imperial and San Diego counties.
Brown signed the bill on the same that immigration rights activisrs rallied in Hollywood and across the country to demand that Congress take up comprehensive immigration reform. He also signed six other immigration-related laws that day, putting California at the forefront of efforts to address immigration issues.
Last Thursday, Brown signed a bill allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain a s driver’s license if they meet all the requirements, including passing a driving test.
Los Angeles Councilman Gilbert Cedillo tried for over a decade to pass similar legislation while he was in the State Legislature. He joined the governor at a signing ceremony in Los Angeles, and saluted him for making a difference.
“He is a great American and an optimist who looks to the future, while others cling to a past that never existed. He is an honorable man, ‘hombre de su palabra’ who has always kept his promise. That was true with the CA Dream Act, the towing bill, and now the CA Driver’s License bill. We are lucky to have such a visionary Governor leading this State out of challenging economic circumstances; investing in the future and setting the foundation for a California we can all be proud to call home.”
The governor did veto a bill that would allow legal immigrants who are not citizens to serve on juries. In his veto statement, Brown said: “Jury service, like voting, is quintessentially a prerogative and responsibility of citizenship, This bill would permit lawful permanent residents who are not citizens to serve on a jury. I don’t think that’s right.”