Last week, the California Senate passed Assembly Bill 1081, also known as the "Trust Act," which calls on local police to release illegal immigrants who commit minor crimes rather than turning them over to federal authorities.
Under the measure, also known to lawmakers as the “anti-Arizona bill,” officers would only refer people convicted of serious felonies to immigration officials. They would no longer detain lower-level offenders on immigration holds.
The bill’s author, State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), said that federal law requiring local law authorities to check the immigration status on an arrestee is a waste of resources and erodes trust.
Ammiano said the legislation will benefit cities like Gilroy and help set the bar for other states in the nation to cut off their ties with the federal government in regards to immigration enforcement.
“The Trust Act is especially important in communities like Gilroy where law enforcement needs to maintain positive interactions with law abiding members of a large community of Latinos, both citizens and immigrants,” he said. “This law will make the state a leader in positive immigration policy.”
After passage by the Senate on July 5, the bill will now goes to the Assembly floor for final approval in August, and will then head to the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown, who has yet to take a stance on the measure.
Brown could sign the bill into law or strike it down with a veto.
According to Zelica Rodriguez-Deams, with Santa Clara County’s Services Immigrant Rights and Education Network (SIREN), passage of the bill would help illegal immigrants gain trust in local authorities. Many are afraid to turn to police for crimes like domestic violence due to fear of deportation. The bill's supporters also say it could put an end to racial profiling by officials.
“A lot of people are afraid to call the police because of that alignment of law enforcement and immigration and the legislation around the country that has been passed the last few years,” she said. “The Trust Act will help restore that trust between immigrants and local law enforcement.”