San Francisco, CA - December, 04, 2012.
This Afternoon Attorney General Harris issued a bulletin that clarified that ICE hold requests are voluntary in nature and local law enforcement have full discretion to reject submission to them. The announcement comes one day after the reintroduction of the TRUST Act (now AB4). The TRUST Act has received broad support including faith leaders and Congressional representatives and the promise from the Governor to sign a new version this session. Governor Jerry Brown has pledged to make the TRUST Act a priority for the coming term.
Reactions from Advocates below:
"Whether someone is subject to deportation as the result of a minor infraction ought not depend on what County the person is in; the Attorney General's guidance demonstrates the need for a statewide policy in the form of legislation such as the TRUST Act," said Thomas A. Saenz. President and General Counsel of MALDEF.
"Attorney General Harris's bulletin affirms the urgent need for the TRUST Act to be signed into law, immediately. A consensus exists in California that Secure Communities has been a disaster, and it is now clear that the lone voices of opposition to TRUST ACT last year were misguided," said Chris Newman, Legal Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON). He continued, "It simply makes no sense for California to comply with voluntary requests and to fill jails with peaceful immigrants at state expense, in order to fuel a broken, unjust federal deportation system."
"AG Harris' acknowledgement that ICE holds are voluntary underscores the need for statewide legislation. Law enforcement should not respond to ICE holds because they undercut community policing strategies by making immigrant victims and witnesses to crime fearful of coming forward. With over 82,000 deportations under S-Comm from California the need for the TRUST Act is more urgent than ever," explained Angela Chan, Senior Staff Attorney at the Asian Law Caucus.
Reshma Shamasunder, Executive Director of CA Immigrant Policy Center said: "Today's announcement from California's top law enforcement leaders should eliminate the confusion among some sheriffs about the legal force of detainers. These cruel and costly requests are voluntary. But that alone won't end the suffering of thousands of Californians who are torn from their families each month. The only logical next step is a strong, statewide standard that limits these burdensome requests. The only logical step is the TRUST Act."