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Opposition Increases Against Immigration Screenings in Jails

Opposition is growing against a new policy that would allow federal immigration screenings in jails across the United States.

The immigration enforcement policy, known as Secure Communities, has caused the deportation of around 280,000 illegal immigrants in the last few years. There are definitely people who are for the program nationwide, but more and more people are fighting against it.

“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.

According to Stateline, the Secure Communities program allows the screenings to take place for criminals who are suspected may be here illegally.

“When a person is arrested, local police send fingerprints and other information to U.S. officials so they can determine whether the person in custody is wanted for any other crimes,” reads the description from Stateline. “The Secure Communities initiative allows the federal government to use that information to check a suspect’s immigration status. If immigration officials determine that the suspect is in the country illegally and dangerous, they can ask police to hold the suspect for up to 48 hours until federal agents can bring them into custody.”

Now, California is pushing back hard, enacting what is known as the Trust Act. This measure blocks local jailers from holding suspects for additional time, when they would normally be released, just to wait on federal authorities to come and screen them.

Governor Jerry Brown will soon decide whether or not to sign this bill into law. It is expected that he will sign it, since recent revisions were made to comply with the governor’s specific requests.

Immigration advocates are hopeful about the Trust Act being passed in California, and believe that similar measures can be passed in other states to stop federal immigration screenings of suspects in jail and help cut down on deportations nationwide.


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