The California Senate approved a bill Wednesday that aims to clear local jails of non-criminal undocumented immigrants and restore immigrants’ trust in local law enforcement.
Under the federal government’s Secure Communities program, the fingerprints of individuals arrested or booked into local jails are automatically shared with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
ICE can then ask local law enforcement to hold individuals for them for potential deportation.
The so-called TRUST Act (A.B. 1081) passed by the California Senate would prohibit local police departments from holding individuals beyond when they’re eligible for release, unless they’ve been convicted of a serious or violent felony.
Supporters of the bill say it will save local jails space and money, and restore immigrants’ confidence in reporting crimes.
“If you have immigrants — victims and witnesses of crimes — being afraid to call the police for help, that impacts public safety for everybody,” said Angela Chan, a staff attorney at the Asian Law Caucus, one of the bill’s main supporters.
The bill passed with 21 yes votes, 13 nays and six abstentions. It now moves on to the Assembly.