It’s up to California, represented by Governor Brown, to decide today whether our state will continue at the whim of the arbitrary interpretations of the Secure Communities program-which divide Latino families-or take responsibility in allowing the program to be enforced by focusing on undocumented immigrants who pose a threat to society.
Today is the last day for the governor to sign the TRUST Act. This is an opportunity to make sure the authorities return to the original purpose for which Secure Communities was established. That is, to “identify and prioritize for removal criminal aliens convicted of violent crimes,” rather than as a tool to deport people suspected of committing misdemeanors and offenses like traffic violations.
It’s necessary to repair the damaged trust between immigrant communities and law enforcement. An undocumented immigrant now thinks twice about reporting a crime for fear of being arrested and placed in deportation proceedings. That is not the way to ensure public safety.
In the worst-case scenario, the law will end up in court because of differences of interpretation with the Department of Homeland Security. The result is uncertain. However, there’s no doubt that from the beginning, the implementation and regulation of Secure Communities has been confusing and contradictory in many aspects.
Likewise, as we have said before, the enactment of the TRUST Act should not preclude the signing of AB 2189.
Both bills affect immigrants in different categories and situations. The latter gives beneficiaries of Deferred Action access to driver’s licenses, which is also important.
We hope the governor does the right thing and signs both laws. The enactment of the TRUST Act will impose control over an out-of-control program and send a powerful message to the rest of the country that there are positive alternatives on the immigration issue that are not nasty laws like Arizona’s.