Currently, the federal Secure Communities program allows law enforcement agencies to detain an undocumented person taken into custody beyond the time he or she would normally be eligible for release. But a bill likely headed to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk — the so-called “TRUST Act” — would direct California agencies to stop this practice, except for serious and violent offenders.

Supporters of the act say it would allow immigrant communities to cooperate with investigations and report crimes. Critics say it will prevent illegal immigrants from being discovered and deported.

Tom Ammiano, California assemblyman (D-San Francisco)
Angela F. Chan, senior staff attorney in the Criminal Justice Reform Program at the Asian Law Caucus
Jessica Vaughn, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based research institute
Curtis Hill, legislative representative for the California State Sheriffs' Association

  • Beth

    Wish people would stop using undocumented people as a scapgoats.  Lets work with what we have, where we are at. So as long as someone isn’t committing a crime, then leave them alone.

    And if you leave the  person who isn’t creating crimes, alone, you gain their trust and in turn they can help report folks who are committing crimes. So it’s a win win as far as I am concerned.

    Seems the only folks against making undocumented folks legal are those who know they won’t get the votes from these new citizens.

    • RegularListener

      ” the only folks against making undocumented folks legal are those who know they won’t get the votes from these new citizens…”

      First of all, the program was not about legalizing all “undocumented folks.” You obviously did not listen to it carefully. It was focused on the narrow issue of whether the Secure Communities policy, which deports some of the “undocumented” who have been arrested, typicallybecause they have prior arrests, have overstayed visas etc., should be followed by California or not.

      But your idea that only those who cannot get the votes of undocumented are against universal legalization is dead wrong. Most citizens & legals are not politicians do not need anyone’s vote to retain their job, yet many, many of us oppose legalizing all “undocumented” for good reasons.  Because this happened in 1986, about 3 million illegals were legalized, with the promise that the government & business would never do this again,would enforce immigration law & would not permit hiring illegals ever again.   Enforcement rarely happened & of course there are now more illegals than in 1986 because they figure they can get the next anmesty without workplace enforcement that big business relying on dirt-cheap labor, immigration lawyers & naive fools like you are lobbying for. …..

      Meanwhile, wages have stagnated even for those whose jobs cannot be outsourcde (in person service workers), the middle class is disappearing and rental housing prices just keep going up. No surprise there. That’s EXACTLY what the law of supply and demand predicts will happen: an unlimited supply of labor depresses wages for laborers, and pushes the price of rental housing up.  It does however, increase the profits of capital owners, including landlords who profit from ever increasing demands for rental housing. And that is exactly why they keep pushing to dismantle any limits on immigration to this country.

    • Billyjofog

      Wait so what you’re saying is that you’re okay with NeoNAZIs from all ove the world just deciding to aome on down and be ” new citizens”. Citizens so you’ld givem the vote? This is the kind of cooky rhretoric on both sides that has resulted in nothing better for anyone involved. My experience with folks who talk so liberal are that they aren’t really liberal they just wanna be on the “hip” side and pretend to do something. Meanwhile they really don’t want to  even see or think about any of the thougher conditions of life.

  • Fred

    How can I trust a governor who, when he was mayor of Oakland, allegedly
    helped his sister’s buddies at Goldman Sachs entrap the city of Oakland
    in a thicket of financial scams?

    These people are like SCEPTRE from the James Bond movies, involved in pure evil and spreading their tentacles everywhere.


  • Carl Bergquist, Los Angeles

    This is a common sense approach to stop the mass deportation and tearing
    apart of Californian families. 75,000 have been deported through the
    misnamed and destructive “Secure Communities” (S-Comm) program alone.
    The TRUST Act takes our state away from the Arizona-style scapegoating
    and racial profiling of people of color,
    and allows our police to focus on improving public safety by restoring
    community trust in the police. Our jails should not be holding cells
    enable ICE’s zeal to maintain its quota of 400,000 annual
    deportations irrespective of the trail of destruction it leaves in its

    I look forward to Governor Brown doing the right thing for
    public safety and family unity, that is to sign the TRUST Act. 

    • Billyjofog

      Really- well it was once common sense that the World was flat and we all know Einstein’s obervation. So common sense well it ain’t necessarily worth much especiallly these days when it swings from one monent to the next depending on the propaganda du jour.

  • Daren Garshelis

    The federal Secure Communities program, in spite of its claim to be aimed at crime reduction, has ripped apart numerous families whose only wrong was being of mixed documentation status, and has shattered trust between police and communities. It gives police a reason to target Latinos based on pretext, and has resulted in the deportation of hard working parents of US citizens. The California TRUST Act provides a needed check on S-Comm abuse by only permitting the program to apply to the people it is supposed to — people who commit serious or violent crimes.

    • Billyjofog

      Understood, but this Act is not the solution-Ask Pelosi, Feinstein, Boxer,  and Reid, et al to the repeal the offending Federal law. If they can’t then we need new leaders. In the meantime there are better ways Califonia can use its State authority to actually help people. This Act will create more problems than it solves. Its a mistake to support it.

  • Hester

    Illegal aliens are here illegally. We are in a recession. People need to follow the rules. People need to not come her illegally and have anchor babies. The school system in CA use to be the best in the country. Due to illegal immigration it is now near the bottom.

    • JR1910

      Immigrants are part of the fabric of our communities, and contribute tremendously to the golden state – to the tune of $600 billion per year according to a recent report. But beyond that, immigrants are our neighbors, our friends, our loved ones – ourselves. With the TRUST Act California can decisively place itself on the path to inclusion, while protecting survivors and witnesses to crimes and easing the burden of this broken program on our local governments.

    • Sam Badger

      Unequal taxation not immigration made California schools bad. Without illegal immigrants we would not have an agriculture sector, you can thank our immigrant community for the food you eat.

      • RegularListener

        What nonsense. Of course we would have food and an agriculture sector, as does every society in the world with cultivable land. We just would have to pay a little bit more for fruits & vegetables, which is an absolutely tiny part of people’s expenses. We have plenty of farms producing basic staples, which are a much larger part of our diet,( wheat, potatoes & corn) at a cheap price and they don’t rely on dirt cheap stoop labor becausethey were mechanized quite a while ago. A study that looked at the impact of the Farm Workers boycott in the late 1960’s found the consumer price rise of payingl farm workers a more reasonable wage was minimal.  The ag industry in the SW has promoted this nonsensical idea that agriculture will collapse without an unlimited supply of stoop labor from poor countries. Problem is they’re paid so little they need all sorts of taxpayer-dependent income supports (emergency care etc.) to survive here. Some  live in overcrowded housing to save on rent & send money back to families wher the money will go much further (as prices are lower there)..Of course legal immigrants & Americans, who have to support a family in this coutntry at American prices, cannot possibly compete with such poorly compensated farm labor.
        But in any case, only a small portion of illegal immigrants are even agriculture.  Most of them are in industries where Americans certainly want to work: (construction, restaurant work, retail, meat-packing etc) and cannot get make a decent living at because unlimited supplies of labor (which is what unlimited, illegal immigratios causes) push down wages, and push up rental prices. It’s call the law of supply & demand.

        • utera

          yep labor is just a small part of agriculture costs.  furthermore if we can’t really grow something in the us without stoop labor, perhaps we shouldn’t.   

          also its funny how the left entirely undermines itself on  this issue. defending horrible jobs and labor conditions and furthermore ignoring an argument they use when defending renewable energy all the time.  what prevents/slows the adoption of renewables and its development?  cheap energy, so ask yourself what prevents development of more automation in agriculture? yes, cheap labor.  furthermore with obesity being such a problem, paying a little more for food would hardly be the worst thing for americans.

  • Forumproducer

    Here is a link to the CNN article on the use of the word “illegal” that was referenced during the show: http://bit.ly/M7cCMI

  • GoGiants123

    Thanks for this informative program. Hopefully California can join other states in using their resources well. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/07/13/chicago-mayor-rahm-emanuel-is-latest-to-reject-secure-communities-immigration-law.html

  • Beth

    Ms Chan noting CNN’s views on the use of the word illegal was nothing more than Political Correctness, along with attempting to call those against who believe in obeying the law, racist.

    If you break any law you are acting in an illegal way.  Thus while I think much of this Trust Act has value, nonsense comments like hers do not get you supporters!  

    One thing that does concern me is the issue of all the babies born to illegals/undocumented, who cost taxpayers money.  And why arent we going after big ag and others who are hiring these illegals/undocumented.

    • Sam Badger

       Does driving over the limit make you an “illegal” person? an illegal act does not make an “illegal” uman being

      • Billyjofog

        Do you think it’s more important to get caught up in marketing semantics or to keep the focus on a good policy? I grew up being called all kinds of things because I’m short, have a funny last name, Catholic, and some of my genes arrived in this country from Poland. It’s annoying but it’s the policies on both sides of the border that are deadly.

      • utera

        no it makes you a speeder, or if you are a drunk driver, you are a drunk driver.  it doesn’t make you an unauthorized alcohol consumer or some other nonsense political correctness term. you like ms chan are trying to bend language for propaganda purposes..and frankly that is just dishonest at its core.

  • Logic

    The guest reasoned the “illegal” versus “undocumented” terms poorly. My estimation of Joshua Johnson is now much higher.

    • Billyjofog

      Agree, but I think the whole issue of labels is kind of ridiculous marketing by both sides of this very important issue that impacts millions on both sides of one of the most traversed militarized borders in world. I don’t support immigration policy. I think it has been a major factor in bringing us to this absurd situation but I also cannot support the “Trust” act for the very same reason that I don’t like the current situation; it is predicated on absurd assumptions and has implications that will generate even tougher problems that will just perpetuate the politics of controversial gesture legislation. I think there is a better way that California can unilaterally meet the needs of the majority of everyone in a compassionate and functional way. For a longer term solution you can’t expect it be unilateral it requires changes on both sides of the border. By the way I don’t see immigration as the problem its how leaders on both sides of it seem less interested in a workable policy than in a perpetual career.

  • JR1910

    The TRUST Act is a solution that recognizes that immigrants are a
    fundamental part of our communities. It’s telling that the Center for
    Immigration “Studies” is so staunchly opposed – the very same group
    designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group:
    http://www.splcenter.org/publications/the-nativist-lobby-three-faces-of-intolerance/cis-the-independent-think-tank  “Although you’d never know it to read its materials, CIS was started in
    1985 by a Michigan ophthalmologist named John Tanton — a man known for
    his racist statements about Latinos, his decades-long flirtation with
    white nationalists and Holocaust deniers, and his publication of ugly
    racist materials”

    • RegularListener

      This is a classic case of ad hominem (and thus fallacious) argumentation. It’s a bit like saying that there’s nothing worthwhile in the US Constitution because all the men who wrote & signed it were racist & sexist, rather than recognizing that many of its basic ideas (like freedom of speech for example) have validity regardless of the personal views of the founders on other issues. Likewise, even if the claims about Tanton being personally racist are true, it does not invalidate all studies or policy recommendations put out by the current CIS. If even SPLC says that “you’d never know it to read its materials” then apparently they could not find overt racist statements made by the current CIS. Unfortunately, this accusation of “racism” is used constantly to obfuscate the basics of supply and demand, which CIS correctly understands and that will not change no matter how many times you yell “racist” i.e. that copious supplies of labor depress wages for workers and drive up rental housing prices, which is exactly the problem that low and middle income US workers have been experiencing for the last 30 years. If we had such a shortage of lower skilled labor as the universal amnesty for illegal immigrants crowd keeps saying, real wages (wages minus living costs) for lower-skilled labor would be skyrocketing. But of course they’re not: they’re stagnant or declining..

  • Otis Landerholm

    I applaud the work of Angela Chan and the Asian Law Caucus, the California Immigrant Policy Center, the San Francisco Immigrants Rights Defense Committee, Tom Ammiano’s office, and others who have worked tirelessly to bring this awesome piece of legislation about.  I’m a young immigration lawyer, and the saddest thing about my job is seeing people accept deportation out of 630 Sansome St., San Francisco, many of whom were caught in S-Comm’s dragnet.  Congrats to those who worked so hard for this, and on behalf of my many immigrant clients, I thank you!  

    • Billyjofog

      The legislation is far from awesome-its rather thoughtless. Part of the problem is that it takes a position that a state can not only interpret federal laws and how to implement them but can pass state legislation that effectively nullifies federal law. If that is the case then a state can choose not only whether it is required to enforce Civil Rights law but if there is a state law that nullifies it, whether they have to obey the Federal law at all. This is great for people who want to continue to abuse the average person who arrives here illegally and without proper documentation. But it really doesn’t do anything to help the condition of these people in California it perpetuates the same line of thought, its gesture politics at its worst. This will do more harm than good. There are better ways that if the leadership of the so called political left really wanted to help they could do, the fact is they need this issue to get votes and distract people from all the other issues in this State that affect everyone.

  • Amy C., Oakland

    I wish there had been time for further discussion about the trafficking question raised by the one caller from Oakland.  Jessica Vaughn’s answer focused very narrowly on prosecuting international traffickers, presumably some of who may be undocumented.  However, it is important to note that in Oakland and elsewhere there is a huge trade in *domestic* sex trafficking of underage girls (indeed, Oakland-based Youth Radio collaborated with NPR on a Peabody-award winning investigation of domestic sex trafficking, available at http://www.youthradio.org/trafficked).  Moreover, Vaughn’s answer failed to address prosecution of another, arguably more significant, contribution to the trafficking problem — the pimps and the johns.  This is precisely where the importance of community monitoring, reporting and trust in law enforcement comes into play.  The truth is that we cannot effectively combat sex trafficking and prostitution without solutions like the Trust Act, which help encourage our immigrant communities to report these activities to law enforcement.  

    • utera

      huge? sorry based on what?  in almost every case of such sex trafficking claims you end up finding out that the numbers are some crazy extrapolations based on almost nothing.

      in any case if we started enforcing the law so networks that support and profit off this illegal immigration would be cut off this entire issue would not be a problem.

      the constant move by folks on your side to underhandedly legalize illegal immigrants in this country only create the problems you claim to be concerned about. what would an illegal trafficker want more than to never be hassled, not be deported if stopped by police for say a traffic stop, just make his existence safe, a safe business environment for criminality. you think a trust act would do anything if the girls family was threatened in mexico? lol, you must be kidding, if I were a sex trafficker I know folks like ms chan would be my best friend for getting business done.

  • Robert G.

       As an environmentalist, I cannot support pubic policy such as the TRUST Act.  The Census shows that there are approximately 100,000 new residents in California every year!  The majority of this increase is from foreign immigration and from children born to immigrants.  The demands placed on resources (e.g., water, transportation, health care, education, housing) is unsustainable.
       People who knowingly violate the law by illegal immigration cannot reasonably complain when that law is enforced.
       (Before readers accuse me of racial bias–as common strategy of supporters of illegal immigration–they should know that I have a LEGALLY adopted son born in the Dominican Republic.)

    • Sam Badger

       What, so it’s better to have 100,000 people in Mexico and Guatemala causing pollution instead of 100,000 in America pollution? What kind of environmentalist are you? The environmental problems are GLOBAL, and FYI the USA has some of the lowest demand on its natural resources of any country in the world … taking some of the environmental pressure off of more densely populated areas won’t hurt mother earth or whatever.

      • utera

        actually they aren’t, if as many enviros say americans use more resources, creating more americans is frankly bad for the environment.

    • Billyjofog

      Environment is one of the things I care about but the argument that the Trust Act will cause more pollution is pretty much stretching to the point of ..well darn near wacky. You’re implying that oil spewing 35 year old Datsuns from Nebraska produce less pollution than a 2003 Chevy from San Diego, just based on how the driver arrived in this country? Besides, most of the people impacted are already here anyway. Also not suggesting you’re a bigot, I get what your trying to say but your reasoning is a bit off, I mean Strom Thurmond had a child by a Black woman, I don’t think most of us would count him in the “not a bigot” column. That said I don’t support the Trust Act because it’s  thoughtless and rather than leading us to a vigorous and robust bilateral policy that will be better for all it is just a reactionary measure that perpetuates the status quo and has the potential to create even larger and more intractable problems in the future. I personally think all borders should be be far more porous but I am also a pragmatist that can’t happen by meaningless unilateral gestures. However I do believe there are things California can do unilaterally to address the problems of Federal laws without challenging the authority of the Fed. 

  • utera

    What a farce, the women claiming illegal immigrants is not the right term is using the basics of propaganda to try to hide the obvious, the dishonesty behind her defense of the nonsense term of undocumented immigrant is just indicative of why no one should trust them on any immigration policy.  

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