Today, the State Assembly’s Public Safety Committee passed on to the full assembly AB 1081, also known as the TRUST Act. The bill, sponsored by San Francisco’s Tom Ammiano, would give local governments the right to opt-out of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s controversial Secure Communities program.

Immigrant rights groups say the program has resulted in increased deportation of immigrants who had committed no crime or were picked up by police for minor offenses.

California Watch explains the process and repercussions:

At the heart of Secure Communities is a database that allows local police to check inmates’ legal status by running their fingerprints. When the system makes a match, officers learn a suspect’s entire documented immigration history. They also learn whether ICE wants to place a “hold” on the suspect, which requires the police agency to detain the individual until immigration agents can take custody.

To supporters of increased local immigration enforcement, the program is nothing more than a database at the jails, and does not encourage profiling.

Though still new, Secure Communities helped catch many thousands of illegal immigrants across California.

Since 2009, local law enforcement in California has turned over 71,918 illegal immigrants to ICE through the program, according to federal data. Of those, 35,643 were removed from the United States.

San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessy, a critic of the program, testified at the hearing that the city was originally told it could opt out before being told it couldn’t. Today’s Bay Citizen reports that conflicting information on the legality of opting out was sent in hundreds of emails from ICE staff to local law enforcement.

Yesterday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that local governments cannot “exclude themselves” from the program.


Assembly Committee Votes for AB 1081, Allowing Local Opt Out of Immigration Fingerprint Database 26 April,2011Jon Brooks

  • Halibut

    Simple. Locals want to opt out of the federal program, then they also opt out of receiving any federal money.

    • readwithcare

      Check the facts – there is NO federal funding for S-Comm. Local jurisdictions are forced to pay for the detention and processing of all the people they hold for ICE.

  • Brittanicus


    The passage of immigration policing bills in Arizona, Georgia, Alabama, Indiana, and Montana are displaying lawmakers have some guts. These are a passage of bills to stop the draining of American jobs, welfare payments and curtailing illegal immigration into these States. The most vulnerable States are the Sanctuary States of California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon and Utah in the Southwest. These States have not imposed E-Verify as the law and still on a voluntary basis; the merit going to Senator Harry Reid, who derailed it as mandatory. Thousands of economic illegal aliens are vanishing from the tough policing State of Arizona, moving to unprotected States allowing free public services, without cross-referencing verification of a person’s immigration status. Although E-verify is not strictly enforced in all states, as ICE audits are restraining many business entities from taking risk of hiring foreign nationals.

    Not only is there a real risk of ICE sweeping down on different larger employers, as even lesser companies have become a target. Even more prevalent is the sudden emergence of “Whistleblowers” who see their jobs rapidly disappearing and intend to do something about it. Business owners need to be warned that most prudent workers are cautiously watching every move inside the store, office or any building. Defrauding the IRS of taxes by paying cash for work in construction, service industries by Contractors and Sub-Contractors are by far the largest culprits. Thousands of small companies have been driven out of their particular specialty, by their inequitable competition using illegal labor. Jobs that formerly went to the less educated Americans at the bottom of the ladder, has been stolen by illegal aliens.

    Less trustworthy businesses saw they could make larger profits, as illegal immigrants were willing to take fewer wage, with no access to benefits. Business owners were well aware; they had no obligation to attribute Health Care, as their employees could just as well go to the emergency room, costing them zero under federal law. This is the same with all family members and relatives, leaving the hospital to swallow the costs, or inevitably the US taxpayer. Agricultural farm workers or Guest workers are in the same situation, where the business owners unload their human responsibilities on the nearest hospital, leaving the public with the financial burden.

    Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer signed HB 178 into law yesterday a bill that requires the MVD to electronically verify legal presence before issuing the State driver’s license or state identification card. The new law requires those applying for new licenses will have to show proof of legal presence in the United States. Out-of-state driver’s license cannot be used as proof. Montana will utilize (SAVE) Systematic Alien Verification of Entitlements program, which checks an applicant’s information against federal data bases.

    Five days ago the Indiana House and both Alabama chambers approved E-Verify legislation, which would require businesses in their states to implement E-Verify. The bill approved in Indiana is significantly stronger than Alabama’s, but both laws require most employers to check new hires through the E-Verify system. Senate Bill 590 now requires most employers to verify the citizenship status of their employees through the federal E-Verify program, and mandates state and local governments ensure illegal immigrants are not receiving welfare benefits, but it removed Senate-passed language that authorized local police officers to check the immigration status of individuals they suspected of being in the country illegally.

    In Montgomery, Alabama last Friday evening both the House and Senate passed bills allow police officers to check immigration status, but the provisions on E-Verify have a significant difference. The House-passed bill requires businesses with at least 25 employees to use E-Verify, but the Senate-passed bill only requires businesses that contract with the state or receive grants from the state to use E-Verify.

    Another bill that would extend in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens was defeated Monday in the Colorado State House Education Committee. The bill, SB 126, was passed by the Senate before being defeated, 7-to-6, in the House committee. It’s the fifth time the bill has failed in the State Legislature. The Republican-led committee argued that passing SB 126 would encourage future illegal immigration and provide a false hope for illegal alien students who would be ineligible to work in the United States after graduation.

    Illegal Immigration is not free to anybody. Annually it costs billions of dollars to every US taxpayer. In this unsettled period of America’s financial downturn, we must care for our own people, not the poverty of other countries. There is no excuse for either political party not enforcing our border, nor making the E-verify program permanent for every business nationwide. Federal judges are too lenient with companies who break our laws and should be dealt with fines, asset confiscation and major prison. The TEA PARTY will make enforcement of immigration laws, one of the top issues in future elections. Chain Migration will be eliminated and no form of Immigration Reform, better interpreted as amnesty will be tolerated. Almost every city or community throughout the United States has a TEA PARTY, so locate to join.

    The management of both political parties has brought the American people much misery and turmoil, including allowing Communist China to use unfair trade practices to get the upper hand. A 14 trillion dollars US deficit is no laughing matter, that we are no longer the lender of money, but the universal debtor. As the American dollar gets weaker, so gasoline will spiral. As we have seen the TEA PARTY has lost no time, in cutting billions, but if more people get together under this moderate Conservatism, we can drag out the big spenders in Government.

    Attn: Stop this insaneness from the environmentalists in placing some elusive Texas “Sagebrush lizard” being placed on the endangered Species list. When gas prices are raising towards $6.00 is beyond incomprehension that Lizards, frogs and other wild animals come before humans. Rehabilitate these different species to some other part of Texas wilderness as we need oil, more than we need these creatures. Instead the environmentalist grieving about some insect, bird, animal or wild thing, get their friends together and begin cleaning up the mounds of garbage left by illegal aliens drudging through the border regions for years. Animals are getting their paws and wings caught in plastic bottle ties, and dying amongst the heaps of effluence


Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks is the host and editor of KQED’s health and technology blog, Future of You. He is the former editor of KQED’s daily news blog, News Fix. A veteran blogger, he previously worked for Yahoo! in various news writing and editing roles. He was also the editor of, which documented user-generated content about the financial crisis and recession. Jon is also a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S. He has written about film for his own blog and studied film at Boston University. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College.

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