Trust Act Bill Forbids Law Enforcement from Detaining Illegal Immigrants

California has taken another step at the behest of its 2.55 million illegal immigrants. On Thursday, the state Senate passed the Trust Act which would work to forbid police and sheriff’s officials from detaining illegal immigrants who were apprehended for possible deportation unless the suspects have previous convictions for a serious or violent felony. Perceived as diminishing federal immigration enforcement, particularly the Secure Communities program, the legislation will now proceed to the Assembly where it is likely to pass.

The Trust Act bill

The Trust Act follows several months of controversy over whether Secure Communities can be imposed on local jurisdictions.  Supporters of the Trust Act claim that when it finally becomes a law, it will prevent illegal immigrants from being detained and possibly deported for relatively minor violations such as traffic infractions, misdemeanors and arrests that do not lead to a conviction.

Unlike Arizona that has passed strong anti-illegal immigration laws, the California legislature has approved financial assistance for undocumented students and voted to minimize incidents of impounds of vehicles driven by individuals who have no proper license.

Passing the Senate on a 21-13 vote, the law will permit an arrestee who is not convicted of a serious or violent felony to be released after serving a sentence, posting a bond, being acquitted of charges, or other eligible for release to be spared from deportation regardless if immigration officials request that the person be held for possible deportation.

California State Sheriffs’ Association’s stand

The California State Sheriffs’ Association (CSSA) has been criticizing the bill while stating that it is placing the local law enforcement in an unstable situation in balancing between state law and federal policy. Curtis Hill, the legislative representative for CSSA, expressed the association’s views that sheriffs across the State will need to evaluate whether to apply the State law of the federal law. While he extremely takes a stand against the the bill, he also believes that it will eventually become a law.

Moreover, amid the controversy, the governor has not given any public statement if he will sign the legislative act.

Past deportation orders

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement note that more than 75,000 people have been deported from California since 2009 when the Secure Communities program began in the state.  Of those figures, 19,500 were convicted of misdemeanors, 12,600 were convicted of non-aggravated felonies or multiple misdemeanors, and 23,500 were convicted of aggravated felonies or multiple other felonies.  Although the remaining number of people were not convicted criminals, they were otherwise considered as priority for deportation orders for other reasons.

Early version of the Trust Act

Earlier versions of the Trust Act was first introduced by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) who sought to allow localities to opt out of Secure Communities by making significant changes in the agreements between the state and federal government.  The said agreements lasted until 2011 prompting Ammiano to introduce the recent version of the bill in early 2012.

At risk of deportation?

Do not wait until you are physically removed from California. Once the bill is signed into law, this will also give you an opportunity to personally take the necessary steps to make your stay legal. To learn more of your chances for turning your status lawful, you must seek legal advice only from a licensed professional.

What can a Firm do for you?

Niren and Associates has a competent team of immigration attorneys for its LA Immigration Office, which you can contact for the free assessment of your case. The firm has been in the business for over 15 years and has helped several illegal immigrants to acquire a lawful residence in the United States or at least minimize the  adverse effect of overstaying a visa so that the holder of an overstaying visa would have a possibility or chance of re-applying for another US visa in the future.

Can’t wait to get answers to your immigration questions? Call the office at (213) 232-4397 or email [email protected].

Any information provided here does not constitute legal advice and is intended for general information only. Should you require legal advise, you are encouraged to contact a lawyer directly. All blog postings are public and are not subject to solicitor/client confidentially. Case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case, and case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any further case undertaken by the lawyer.