Measure to limit immigrant deportation clears Legislature

SACRAMENTO -- A bill that would limit cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities has cleared the Legislature and is now on its way to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk. The...

measure, known as the Trust Act, won final approval in the Assembly on Tuesday. The bill, by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), would restrict law enforcement from detaining solely for immigration purposes people who had been arrested on minor offenses.

If the bill, AB 4, is signed into law, it would significantly curb California's involvement in a federal immigration program called Secure Communities, which requires local law enforcement to share the fingerprints of people who have been arrested with immigration officials.

The program has been controversial, with opponents saying that it has led to deportations of people who are in the country illegally and were stopped by police on minor, nonviolent offenses, such as street vending or traffic violations.

"The truth of the matter is that Secure Communities has been more hurtful than helpful," said Assemblyman V. Manuel Perez (D-Coachella).

Perez touted the bill on the Assembly floor, saying it would "advance the goals of protecting families and communities, restoring trust in law enforcement and focusing public resources on threats to public safety."

Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee) said the Assembly should work to find "a compassionate and caring answer to current immigration challenges that face this country."

But he blasted the proposal as "finding ways and excuses to go soft on crime."

Brown vetoed a previous version of this measure last year, expressing concern it could lead to violent criminals being released from police custody.

Ammiano said this year's bill attempted to address those concerns, by allowing law enforcement to continue detaining people who have been convicted of felonies and certain misdemeanors.

Los Angeles Times

http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-pc-anti-deportation-bill-20130910,0,7452808.story

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