Earlier this week AB 1081, also known as The TRUST Act, passed out of the Assembly’s Public Safety Committee. The bill would allow California counties to opt out of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Secure Communities program, which requires local law enforcement agencies to send the fingerprints of everyone who has been arrested to a central federal database for a check on their immigration status.

The program has been controversial because it has contributed to the deportation of thousands of non-criminals, as reported by the Los Angeles Times and others. From an April 13 report by California Watch’s Ryan Gabrielson:

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.

A majority of the illegal immigrants nabbed under Secure Communities were previously convicted of some crime. However, a sizable minority (28 percent) were labeled as “non-criminals” who had no criminal record, the ICE data shows.

In February, nationwide the program removed 2,166 non-criminals. That was significantly more than the number of “level one,” or most serious criminals, that were removed during the month: 1,367

Yesterday I spoke to Gabrielson about Secure Communities and AB 1081, asking him to explain both the program and the legislation. One particular thing he said that stood out: ICE has yet to be able to point to the exact legislation that authorizes it to require local law enforcement to participate in the program.

Listen to the interview below:

Journalist Ryan Gabrielson on Secure Communities and AB 1081

Interview: What is ICE’s “Secure Communities” Program and AB 1081 29 April,2011Jon Brooks

  • Brittanicus

    When our immigration laws are held in suspension by hesitant politicians because they don’t want to hurt ethnic feelings, then nothing is going to happen? IT IS ALWAYS GOING TO BE A STALEMATE. Americans should realize if we initiate Zero tolerance at the border, at airline terminals with the immense power of the federal government, to fully funding without any exceptions. That the originally designed double strength border fence (2006 Secure Fence Act), complete with deployed US patrol and military personal, we can alter the course of having to support illegal immigrant invasion..At airline entry terminals, their must be stronger control that includes entry and exit inspections by immigration, so they can trace persons after their visa expires.Amazingly it makes sense, so it halts illegal newcomers reaching reaching America, costing billions of dollars in support. ALL STATES THAT FAIL TO ENACT POLICING LAWS, WILL ADDRESS A HUGE FINANCIAL PENALTY FROM THE BOMBARDMENT OF ECONOMIC REFUGEES, LOOKING FOR A NEW HOME AFTER FLEEING FROM LESS SYMPATHETIC STATES.

    If funding is established now for whatever is required to construct the double layer fence, including internal tools such as E-Verify, Secure Communities and 287 (G) police apprehension programs, we stand a good chance of stopping this travesty. IF WE SPEND BILLIONS NOW, IN THE LONG RUN WE WILL SAVE HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS ANNUALLY. Every legal person and citizen should have a equal opportunity to work, no matter their color as long as their passage was through the Immigration paperwork and not the back way in? So as inserted in the 1986 Immigration Control and reform Act, we will have the means to inflict grave penalties on business, that think they are above our laws. More than then five foreign nationals in your employ, you go to prison, simple as that. Much of this pain and suffering, loss of jobs taken by illegal aliens could be settled easily, if entry into America without papers was a felony as many other industrial nations have imposed.

    This foreign occupation hasn’t just happened, its taken thirty years at least. This has been caused by foolhardy evasiveness to the “Rule of law.” Once we have settled this exploitation once and for all, we can then decide on a uniform, non-fraudulent Guest worker program.But farmers and the agricultural section, must be forced to pay for their workers health care and education for their children of people working the fields; not taxpayers. There should be special exceptions for the highly skilled, who should have expedited passage through the immigration preference system. Alas, we have a right not admit individuals who will have to rely on government handouts, which incorporates pregnant Mothers. This has become a myopic game of States and the federal government alike, engineering welfare programs meant for birthright Americans sick, old and retired.

    FAIR estimates there are about 363,000 children are born to illegal aliens each year. It’s a must read the report in a Pdf file “Illegal Aliens and American Medicine.” Just Google the whole text. Anybody have any thoughts out there, have any conception of expenditures Today? Foothold children to a large extent exhaust the social welfare programs countrywide. This is serious intent to legally enter America in near full term of pregnancy, so the birthright law comes into effect. The “Anchor Baby” is an unpleasant term, but it describes with morbid accuracy, defining an offspring of an illegal immigrant or other non-citizen, who under current legal interpretation becomes a United States citizen at birth; the law is ruthlessly used in apply for welfare programs. The female if allowed staying, gets even more benefits, when they become pregnant again, and again and again. This insures cash payments, food stamps, free health care and federal Section 8 housing that shortly the whole extended family moves too. As our government tries to extract its way out of the 14 Trillion plus deficit, so should States that are carrying the extra burden if catering to illegal aliens. Thousands more people join the moderate conservatives in local and national TEA PARTY each day. Independents are swarming to the party, including lost Liberals and Democrats, even hard core Republicans.

    This nation is on the verge of losing its reputation, as the most powerful country in the world to Communist China. This has been forced upon us by unfair trade practices and the manipulation of currency by the Chinese. This unfair advantage has deteriorated our manufacturing base, the shutdown of thousands of companies that were making quality products, compared to the foreign countries that have imported cheap goods into this nation. The only people making huge profits are international mega corporations, that have taken US jobs offshore or across borders. The TEA PARTY will end this fallacy and tax US companies bringing cheap inferior goods. We are the greatest population of consumer buyers in the world and we have the ability to place tariffs on goods entering America, instead of this unbalanced trade policies that we have with NAFTA, CAFTA and China.

  • CA ALERT! AB 1081 tries to thwart federal Secure Communities program!

  • Nellie

    The abuse of the illegals and our borders not being closed is not fare to the American people. I live in an area where it is mostly Mexican, but we are having more illegal people from South American countries being arrested. We have a big drug problem! CA borders are not safe! People living in CA are not safe! Now we have more illegals coming across the borders that are from Africa, Middle East, Chinese! How can these people afford to get to the borders of Mexico an “WHY” isn’t Mexico stopping these people? We need to cut funding to Mexico and use the money to hire more Border Patrol and stop the illegals from coming here.
    We need a birthright law and no money for illegals.
    When you pass a highschool and there is many women pregant and with babies this is our next Welfare generation. I have many friends who are Mexican and a son in law and they don’t agree on the illegals being here.
    Now we have Obama bringing in Refugees, 70,000 from countries that are Muslim and we are already having problems with these people. They are on Welfare or taking jobs that the American people need.


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 EconomyBeat.org, 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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