Boston Council Approves TRUST Act, Rejects S-Comm Deportation Quota Program
Mayor expected to sign bill that ends submission to unjust ICE detainer requests
Unanimous vote against S-Comm in what was pilot site for failed program
Boston, MA, August 20, 2014—On Wednesday, the Boston City Council unanimously passed a bill to end the city's voluntary submission to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requests to keep people in jail for extra time, known as ICE detainers, an important element of the failed Secure Communities deportation dragnet, S-Comm.
“It’s important that this bill passes today,” said bill champion Councilor Josh Zakim as he explained the urgency of the legislation, citing the widespread fear caused by the entanglement of local police with federal immigration enforcement. He added, “Our duty [is to] ensure that we are sending a clear message to the immigrant community, it is safe to report [to the police] if you are a victim of crime.”
“This is one of my proudest days on the Council,” said bill supporter Councilor Tito Jackson. “We’ve seen ponzy schemes directed at immigrant communities, women who have been sexually assaulted, men and women harmed, and many of these people haven’t been able to pick up a telephone to call the police, that doesn’t sound to me like a secure community.”
“So many residents get beaten, raped, and they don’t report because they are scared of the police,” said Councillor Salvatore LaMattina. “This [bill] is a big step for my community and a big step for Boston.”
Councilor Ayanna Pressley added that the “Secure Communities [program] is kind of an oxymoron, so many people living in fear and being racially profiled. As a city that celebrates the fact that we are 53 percent people of color, it’s great to celebrate that diversity, but it’s just as important to celebrate our undocumented community with a just bill like this.”
Mayor Marty Walsh, a longtime opponent of Secure Communities that was piloted in Boston starting in 2006, has said previously he will sign the bill. Today, immigrants are demanding that President Obama end the controversial S-Comm deportation quota program as part of the current DHS review underway.
A broad coalition of groups supported the Boston Trust campaign, including the Boston Immigration Group and the Boston Campaign to Restore Trust, which is calling for a state-level MA Trust Act.
"The fear, the damage, caused by Secure Communities is real. It's not complicated, S-Comm makes people afraid of the police, and that makes us all less safe," says Reyna Alfaro, a community organizer from Neighbors United for a Better East Boston who grew up in Boston. "Today we are sending a clear message, not one more warrantless detention for ICE in our city."
As Bristol Sheriff Grand Stands, Law Enforcement State-wide Put on Notice About Potential Liability of Submitting to ICE Requests
Immigrants groups confront Bristol Sheriff about anti-immigrant policies, warn of recent court rulings against detainers prompted by S-Comm
Boston, MA, July 25, 2014 — On Thursday, immigrant and civil rights groups confronted Bristol Sheriff Hodgson as he finished delivering remarks to the press following a closed-door meeting with MA representatives about the child refugee crisis. The Sheriff, an advocate for the failed Secure Communities deportation quota program, has now set his sights on clashing with the governor over treatment of child refugees in detention at the border.
After a tense exchange with Hodgson, the Sheriff accepted calls from immigrants to meet and committed to meeting as soon as possible. “The Sheriffs own statements about immigrants are the strongest argument for the need for the TRUST Act that prevents discrimination and restores the confidence in law enforcement that federal deportation programs have shredded to pieces in Massachusetts,” said Salvador Sarmiento of the National Day Laborer Organzing Network.
In the meeting, the groups seek to discuss a letter sent to every County Sheriff last week warning them to end submission to immigration detainer requests or potentially be held liable in the wake of federal court decisions finding that the submission to ICE holds is in violation of the 4th Amendment. See the letter here.
Patricia Montes, Executive Director of Centro Presente, “ICE has made it routine to detain individuals based on suspicion, instead of probable cause like the U.S. Constitution demands. When law enforcement gets tangled up in that kind of abuse, public trust in law enforcement suffers and our neighborhood safety disappears. That’s why sheriffs across the country are making the right decision by rejecting ICE holds. We hope our elected officials in Massachusetts correct their policies as soon as possible to stop the damage S-Comm has caused."
National contact: B Loewe, NDLON, 773-791-4668
Somerville Mayor to Sign Order Limiting ICE Holds, First in Massachusetts to Join National Trend Against Federal S-Comm Program
S-Comm is a “wall between police and community” says Police Chief
“All eyes on Massachusetts” as immigrant communities look to other localities to follow suit
May 22, 2014, Boston, Massachusetts——Wednesday, the Mayor of Somerville, Massachusetts, Joseph Curtatone, announced he will sign an executive order limiting local application of ICE holds, one component of the controversial Secure Communities program (S-Comm), at a signing ceremony on Thursday at 5:30pm Eastern. The announcement comes one week after President Obama and DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson announced they would take a "fresh look” at the deportation dragnet program—widely criticized for contributing to rampant racial profiling and an unprecedented level of deportations.
On 2 Year Anniversary of SComm in MA, Groups Rally for
End to Deportation Program & Passage of State Trust Act
State bill pending in Senate Ways & Means Committee
would limit local application of ICE immigrant holds
May 15, 2014, Boston, Massachusetts — On the two year anniversary of the statewide implementation of President Obama’s Secure Communities deportation program (“SComm”) in Massachusetts, immigrant and civil rights groups rallied at the steps of the MA Statehouse calling for an end to the program and for elected officials to limit participation by passing local and state “trust” policies.
Speakers included state Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton), sponsor of the MA Trust Act (S.1135); Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone and Interim Police Chief Charles Femino, early supporters of the bill; faith, labor, and Latino leaders; and individuals fighting deportations of loved ones, many with signs reading “Restore Trust, End SComm,” and “2 years, 2 many.”
“As today marks the 2-year anniversary since Secure Communities was activated in Massachusetts, it is encouraging to see a local police chief, advocates, lawmakers, faith members, and labor groups express their support for the MA Trust Act,” said Sen. Eldridge. “This bill would keep families together and work to repair the rift between immigrant communities and local law enforcement to keep our communities safe.”
In May 2012, the federal government forced MA to participate in SComm, a federal deportation dragnet program, over the objections of Gov. Patrick, law enforcement, legislators, and community members. For two years, the program has been widely criticized for needlessly separating hundreds of MA families and widely discouraging individuals from reaching out to local police for assistance.
The MA Trust Act, now in the Senate Ways and Means Committee chaired by Sen. Stephen Brewer, would create standards for local police’s collaboration with federal immigration enforcement. Today, over 60 jurisdictions including CA and CT have passed a version of the Trust Act to limit local application of ICE holds, a tool of the federal deportation dragnet. Adding to this momentum, a federal court decided last month that the local application of an ICE hold constituted a violation of the 4th amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
In MA, the pressure to end the use of ICE holds is also rising. Last month, 19 activists were arrested in a civil disobedience at the Suffolk Detention Center calling for an end to SComm and condemning the President’s record 2 million deportations since taking office.
“This is an urgent matter, police do not need to be doing the work of immigration enforcement, stopping individuals because they are Hispanic,” said Santos Gutierrez at the rally today. Gutierrez, an immigrant member of Springfield-based Just Communities, is fighting to stop the deportation of her own husband who was detained on an ICE hold. A judge had dismissed her husband’s charges, saying he was a victim of racial profiling, but the ICE hold ensured he was transferred to ICE and now faces deportation.
“I cannot bear to see families suffer as mine has had to suffer. We need the MA Trust Act, that’s why we’re here today,” said Gutierrez.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 17, 2014
Contact: B Loewe 773-791-4668
Philly's Historic Executive Order Draws
Praise from National Advocates
In response to Philadelphia Mayor Nutter's announcement of an Executive Order to effectively end the city's submission to ICE hold requests, leading national civil rights and labor organizations gave the following statements.
Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director, National Day Laborer Organizing Network:
"Philadelphia's new policy makes the city safer, it protects civil rights, it constitutes an exemplary policy of inclusion, and it sends a clear message that the city values the contributions of its immigrant population. Whereas shameful federal deportation dragnet programs like SCOMM have created a culture of suspicion that has divided communities and led to Arizonification, Philadelphia's new policy represents the turning tide. We expect more cities will follow Philly's lead in weeks and months ahead, and we congratulate and thank everyone involved in this historic policy."
Landmark law expected to lower deportations, raise confidence in law enforcement
2013.12.30 – California's TRUST Act is poised to have a dramatic impact on the immigration debate when it goes into effect this Wednesday, January 1, along with a host of other pro-immigrant measures. As anticipation mounts in immigrant communities across the state, representatives of several organizations which sponsored the bill are available this week for phone interviews as well as in-person interviews in Los Angeles and the Bay Area.
The TRUST Act (AB 4 by Assemblymember Ammiano) sets a minimum standard throughout California to limit cruel and costly immigration “hold” requests in local jails. These optional requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) trap undocumented community members– and even citizens – in local jails for extra time at local expense.
Often triggered by the deeply controversial “Secure Communities” or S-Comm program, the holds have caused over 100,000 deportations in California since 2009 and have come under severe fire for undermining community confidence in law enforcement, separating families, and wasting local resources. A significant majority of the Californians deported either had minor convictions or none at all.
When Governor Brown signed the bill on declared: “We’re not using our jails as a holding vat for the immigration service” and highlighted California’s move toward inclusive immigration policies as a national model: “Just as California’s changed, Arizona’s going to change … we’re part of a grand and great transition.”, he
The bill goes into affect amid growing calls for President Obama to follow California’s example and use his considerable executive authority to halt deportations.
Meanwhile, other TRUST Acts are pending in Massachusetts and Maryland.
TRUST Act – key developments since signature and resources
Sea change among California Sheriffs: With support already strong among police chiefs, Congressmembers, and religious leaders, recent months have also seen key Sheriffs who once opposed TRUST shift their stances dramatically.
In September, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca signaled his support, and Sonoma Sheriff Steve Freitas announced he would follow TRUST. (The pair had previously threatened to defy the bill.) Since signature, several Sheriffs, including the Sheriff of Contra Costa County – which has seen the most deportations in the Bay Area – have embraced the bill.
Additionally, San Bernardino Sheriff John McMahon not only shifted his stance this month, but also added TRUST Act protections into a rare, controversial agreement with ICE that advocates have long protested. And following a civil disobedience demonstration by local immigrant youth - including a young man whose brother was deported in 2011 for driving without a license - Fresno Sheriff Margaret Mims confirmed she will also adhere to TRUST.
Who will TRUST help? During the three-year fight to pass the TRUST Act, many courageous undocumented Californians facing deportation spoke out, including María Sánchez of Torrance, currently facing deportation after she was the victim of a fender-bender; domestic violence survivors wrongfully arrested after calling for help like Norma and Isaura; Day Laborers like Jose Ucelo, arrested on false charges from employers unwilling to pay wages owed; Sacramento tamale vendor Juana Reyes and other food vendors; and Ruth Montano, a Bakersfield mother nearly deported due to a trivial complaint over her small dogs’ barking. Had TRUST been in effect, none would have been held for deportation.
What the bill does: TRUST ensures that people with most low-level, non-violent offenses are not wastefully held for deportation purposes. At the same time, its compromise, minimum standard allows holds for both felony convictions and for those accused of felonies under certain circumstances. It also allows holds for people with a number of higher level misdemeanor convictions within 5 years and for certain convictions in federal court. (Full text here.)
Local policies: Since each immigration hold raises serious due process and civil rights issues, local governments can enact protections beyond the TRUST Act. This year, San Francisco stopped virtually all immigration holds, and Santa Clara County upheld the state’s strongest anti-deportation policy.
Who: Confirmed speakers include -
- Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, D - San Francisco
- Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
- Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-winning undocumented journalist and founder of Define American
- Rabbi Ken Chasen, Leo Baeck Temple, Los Angeles
- Neidi Dominguez, California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance
- María Sánchez, LA mom facing deportation due to arrest over a fender-bender in Torrance; member of POWER
- Dean Santos, youth who faced deportation after minor arrest, member of ASPIRE
The call is hosted by the organizational sponsors of the TRUST Act: Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, California Immigrant Policy Center, ACLU of California, and Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
Background: Governor Jerry Brown's signing of the TRUST Act (AB 4 - Ammiano) along with several other key pro-immigrant measures has brought hope to millions of immigrant Californians and galvanized immigrant advocates across the nation. On Monday's tele-press conference, key leaders will examine the TRUST Act's impact on California, neighboring states, and national immigration reform debate.
The TRUST Act will ease the painful impact of the "Secure" Communities or S-Comm deportation program, which turns even low level or unjustified arrests into extended detentions for deportation purposes in local jails, separating families and undermining community confidence in law enforcement. S-Comm has deported a total of nearly 100,000 Californians to date, most with minor or no convictions.
The compromise version of TRUST signed into law by the Governor gives law enforcement much more leeway to respond to immigration "detainer" requests than last year's version of the bill, while setting a minimum standard to ensure that those with most low-level, non-violent offenses are not wastefully held for deportation purposes. For example, the bill allows holds for both felony convictions and also for those accused of felonies under certain circumstances. The new law also allows holds for people with a number of higher level misdemeanor (or “wobbler”) convictions within 5 years, and for certain federal criminal convictions.
The new law, which will take effect on , has earned a growing wave of support including former Dept. of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, police chiefs including San Diego’s Chief Lansdowne, Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca, 28 members of US Congress, legal experts, and faith leaders.
October 5, 2013. - Los Angeles, CA
In response to Governor Jerry Brown signing the California TRUST Act (AB4) into law, NDLON Executive Director Pablo Alvarado released the following statement:
"The tide is turning. California’s historic legislation marks a shift of the pendulum away from the criminalization of immigrants and against the idea that police should have any role in immigration enforcement. The more the public learns about the failed Secure Communities deportation program, the more clear it becomes that it should be ended. The President should take a cue from the state of California and other locales that have rejected his deportation quota program and reverse course on his Administration's policies of Arizonification.
Sacramento - Today, by an initial vote of 48 to 22, the California State Assembly approved amendments to TRUST Act (AB 4 - Ammiano) which reflect the great majority of a framework proposed by the Governor's office. Today's "concurrence" vote follows yesterday's successful Senate vote of 25-11. The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown, and a broad coalition of supporters is confident that the Governor will sign the significantly revised proposal into law.
The bill would ease the painful impact of the "Secure" Communities or S-Comm deportation program, which turns even low level or unjustified arrests into extended detentions for deportation purposes in local jails. S-Comm has split families apart, undermined community confidence in law enforcement, and led to the deportation of nearly 100,000 Californians, most with minor convictions or none at all.