Late last night California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed AB 1081, commonly known as the TRUST Act. The TRUST Act would have prevented California law enforcement officers from participating in the Federal immigration fingerprint data sharing program known as Secure Communities (SCOM).
SCOMM requires local law enforcement to detain suspected undocumented immigrants arrested for criminal violations until Immigration and Customs Enforcement can verify their immigration status. Fingerprints of suspected immigrants are sent to DHS to check against immigration databases. If these checks reveal that an individual is unlawfully present in the United States or otherwise removable due to a criminal conviction, ICE takes enforcement action.
The National Immigration Law Center has issued the following press release in response to Governor Brown's veto:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 30, 2012
CONTACT: Adela de la Torre
LOSING TRUST IN GOVERNOR BROWN
Governor of California Fails to Enact Sound, Inclusive Policy
“By failing to sign the TRUST Act, Governor Brown signaled that he cares more about deportation quotas established 3,000 miles away in Washington, D.C., than about the safety of our communities and the unity of our families,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. “The TRUST Act, which won widespread support from communities of faith, and labor, as well as endorsements from key law enforcement leaders, would have represented a firm and positive step toward an inclusive policy and away from a draconian deportation state like Arizona. Governor Brown had an opportunity to support the communities that had faith in him, and show the country that a more inclusive legislative path is possible. Unfortunately, Brown squandered that opportunity tonight.”
“The governor also showed that he couldn’t follow in another state’s positive footsteps this evening by failing to sign into law the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights. This bill would have allowed workers who take care of our families, children, and homes to have the same basic protections the rest of us consider essential for a fair and just workplace. A similar bill was signed into law last year in New York, and those of us who believe that all people should count on basic workplace rights had hoped that California would follow New York’s lead. Unfortunately, despite widespread support in both chambers of the California legislature, as well as support from so many sectors of society, Governor Brown failed to allow this common-sense piece of legislation to become law.”
“One need not look further back than the mid ‘90s to know that California’s immigrant voters will be stronger, not weaker, as a result of this setback. Courageous domestic workers, immigrants, and allies showed their leadership in launching impressive advocacy campaigns promoting these two visionary bills. Governor Brown should remember that failure to stand up for the communities of color that compose a growing portion of California’s population today can and will lead to a negative result at the ballot box in the future.”
Earlier this week, Brown did sign into law AB 1899, which provides continued access to in-state tuition, scholarships, fee waivers and financial aid to otherwise eligible crime survivors who are granted a T or U status. Prior to this law, survivors who cooperated with law enforcement and obtained one of these statuses, became ineligible for in-state tuition and other assistance that is available to other California college students regardless of their status. This legislation, which corrects this inadvertent gap in the law, was supported by anti-trafficking and anti-domestic violence advocates, law enforcement, higher education institutions, students, immigrant rights and civil rights groups, received unanimous support throughout the legislative process.
Added Hincapié, “While we were pleased to see that legislation to improve access to education for immigrant communities was signed into law, Brown should have shown similar leadership in other areas affecting the daily lives of Californian workers and community members. This deep disappointment will not be soon forgotten.
“Immigrant communities across the state will now organize to ensure that their local jurisdictions adopt policies that protect their communities from the harsh immigration enforcement practices that are separating families and devastating communities. Ultimately, change is needed at the federal level. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency must stop wreaking havoc on 400,000 families across the country each year, take the administrative steps necessary to stop deporting vibrant members of our communities, and start working toward creating an immigration system that allows aspiring Americans to continue contributing their best to our country.”
Matthew Kolken is a trial lawyer with experience in all aspects of United States Immigration Law including Immigration Courts throughout the United States, and appellate practice before the Board of Immigration Appeals, the U.S. District Courts, and U.S. Courts of Appeals. He is admitted to practice in the courts of the State of New York , the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).