The Trust Act made its way once more through the California Assembly yesterday by a final vote of 44-22. The legislation was vetoed late last year when it reached the desk of Democratic Governor Jerry Brown. Supporters say the bill authored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano will limit deportations fueled by the fingerprint-sharing federal Secure Communities program while restoring confidence between law enforcement and largely immigrant, Latino communities. It heads to the Senate next.
Locally, our ostensibly Democrat assemblymembers joined the state's troglodytic GOP in not supporting the bill. Assemblyman Tom Daly, whose 69th District is the most heavily Latino in Orange County, unsurprisingly voted against it. Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, who edged out Republican Chris Norby last year thanks in no small part to the demographics and boundaries of the newly drawn 65th District, abstained.
“While I agree with some of the components of what Assembly Bill 4 is attempting to put into law, I ultimately abstained because I had concerns about gaps in the legislation that would allow some very serious criminals to remain in the country, possibly free, and take away some power from our police to detain them,” the former Fullerton mayor said. “Governor Brown had similar concerns when he vetoed similar legislation last year. Perhaps these concerns will be dealt with as it moves through the legislative process and I can reconsider,” Quirk-Silva adds.
“Immigration is ultimately a federal issue and I hope the U.S. Congress will finally pass comprehensive immigration reform to deal with such issues.”
Wow–sounds just like the strained excuses that her mentor, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, offered for years in not co-sponsoring the DREAM Act!
The overall vote was bolstered by a recently released survey noting that in four major cities, including Los Angeles, Latinos were 44% less likely to contact law enforcement in cases where they were victims of violent crime due to active collaboration with immigration enforcement. Among the undocumented, 70% said they were less likely to reach out to the police under similar circumstances. The reality of insecure communities couldn't be any clearer.
Even with the Trust Act's political demise last year, it returns largely intact without major alterations. “It's virtually identical,” says Chris Newman, Legal Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON). “The governor promised to provide edits. He made it clear that he was philosophically in favor of it, but cited technical issues as reasons for the veto.”
There may have been more to last year's decision.”We know John Morton from ICE lobbied Brown very hard,” Newman adds referring to meetings that took place between the governor and officials from Morton's agency. “Our hope is that the he will finally deliver on his promise and show some leadership.”
Meanwhile, statistical analysis provided by the California Immigrant Policy Center shows nearly 5,000 deportations in California between January and March of this year alone. A majority of those weren't for serious convictions.
Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @dpalabraz