Undocumented immigrants in California can no longer be detained for longer than necessary by local law enforcement after arrests for minor crimes.
Governor Jerry Brown officially signed the Trust Act into law. Under the new legislation, illegal immigrants would have to commit violent and other serious crimes in order to be held after an arrest.
A recent Opposing Views report noted a growth in nationwide opposition to immigrant detentions and screenings like this, made possible under what’s known as Secure Communities. This legislation allowed local law enforcement to hold illegal immigrants for longer than they need to, even they were just arrested for a traffic violation, so that federal immigration services can come and deport them.
California was seemingly at the front of the movement to end this policy, with another recent Opposing Views article noting that a San Francisco board unanimously voted to end screenings in the city.
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Governor Brown says that while the feds have yet to move forward on immigration, he can no longer wait.
“While Washington waffles on immigration, California’s forging ahead,” said Governor Brown. “I’m not waiting.”
With the Trust Act now officially being law in California, local law enforcement can no longer act as immigration services. Immigration activists and workers rights groups alike say this is a huge step in the right direction.
“We’re finally seeing the tide turning against the idea that it is good to use police as deportation agents,” said Chris Newman of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.
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Immigration activists are still rallying Congress to pass nationwide immigration reform, but for now, California is taking matters into its own hands.