As AZ Profiling Provision Sparks Anger, NLGSF Urges CA to Take Opposite Path With TRUST Act

Across State, Community Groups Call On Gov. Brown, AG Harris to Support Bill Limiting Unfair Detentions, Profiling

As the US Supreme Court’s June 25, 2012 ruling on Arizona’s anti-immigrant law continues to spur passionate reactions across the nation, the National Lawyers Guild and other allied organizations issued the following statement:

Arizona's SB 1070 “show me your papers” provision is racial profiling and is absolutely the wrong direction for our country. While we are relieved the court struck down three other provisions of this hateful law, the fact is that the “show me your papers” section simply cannot be implemented without unleashing a painful onslaught of racial profiling. Each day this unjust provision is allowed to stand, the clocked will be turned back further on our hard-earned civil and human rights.

California has an opportunity to lead the nation in moving forward. Our state must pass the TRUST Act (AB 1081 - Ammiano) as soon as possible. This bill will limit the cruel, burdensome detentions of immigrant community members in our local jails for deportation purposes and also monitor against profiling.

Without the TRUST Act, local police will continue to be encouraged to racially profile immigrants for arrest, leading to their deportation by ICE and the division of their families. Without the TRUST Act, many people who may urgently need emergency assistance are fearful of talking to the police due to local police collaboration with ICE. We call upon our legislators, Governor Brown, and Attorney General Harris to immediately support this common-sense proposal.

Specifically, the TRUST Act sets a clear, minimum standard for local governments not to submit to burdensome requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain people for deportation unless the individual has a serious or violent felony conviction. Under the bill, jurisdictions would also develop common-sense plans to make sure others aren't swept up.

Background: The Arizona law, passed in April 2010, drew widespread condemnation because it would have forced local police to act as immigration agents and unleashed a wave of profiling based on appearance and accent. Immigrant advocates said the program would entangle police in what is an essentially broken immigration system.

Advocates have also pointed to disturbing similarities between SB 1070 and the federal “Secure” communities or S-Comm deportation program, which has caused the deportation of over 72,000 Californians. Nearly 7 in 10 of those deported either had no convictions or were brought in for minor offenses.

Under S-Comm, the fingerprints of everyone arrested are automatically sent to ICE. Immigration officials then pressure local governments to hold immigrant community members in jail for extra time, at local expense, so that ICE can pick up the individuals for deportation. However, these “hold” requests are voluntary and a number of jurisdictions have already chosen to limit how they respond.

The TRUST Act passed the state Senate Public Safety committee 5-2 on June 12, 2012, and now heads to the Senate floor.

In an editorial published June 22, the New York Times endorsed the TRUST Act, stating: “The bill would enhance the ability of local departments to fight crime by restoring community trust and saving jail space for serious offenders. It deserves to become law.”