The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill

An immigration fix in California: Governor Brown should sign the TRUST Act

{mosads}Governor
Brown should sign the TRUST Act. I’m not alone in saying this. My
California Democratic colleagues in Congress, Oakland, San Francisco and
Palo Alto police chiefs, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and
over 30 law school professors who sent a letter to the Governor support
the TRUST Act. 

Why?
First, the Secure Communities program jeopardizes public safety by
generating mistrust for law enforcement among immigrant communities. 
Undocumented and documented immigrants are hesitant to cooperate with
the police because they fear that doing so may lead to their or their
family’s arrest and deportation. Many families have been torn apart by
our nation’s broken immigration system, and the vast majority of persons
deported under the Secure Communities program have been those without
criminal charges or with minor offenses.

Lack
of collaboration with the immigrant community makes it difficult for
state and local police agencies to investigate serious crimes, and
thereby undermines the safety of our communities. The TRUST Act would
restore trust by giving control over public safety back to local law
enforcement and communities and preventing the mass detention and
deportation of immigrants arrested for non-criminal and minor crimes to
federal immigration authorities.

Second,
the Secure Communities program is an economic drain. The TRUST Act
alleviates a serious budget burden for California taxpayers and local
law enforcement. California police departments bear over $65 million a
year in unreimbursed immigration hold costs. The TRUST Act saves
resources and community policing by curtailing the excess use of local
jails for civil immigration enforcement. In the future, when we move
toward comprehensive immigration reform, we’ll avail even more
resources, to tune of several trillion dollars.

Third,
my California district already demonstrated that reducing the authority
of the Secure Communities program is beneficial. Santa Clara County
passed, in October 2011, an ordinance that ended its cooperation with
Secure Communities, which is why Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith
sent a letter to Governor Brown requesting his signature on the TRUST
Act. In her letter, Sheriff Smith emphasized mistrust for local law
enforcement during the implementation of the federal program; under the
program 69 percent of deportees from California were merely charged with
minor offences, including individuals detained as a result of traffic
violations. The Santa Clara County ordinance strengthened law
enforcement relations with the immigrant community and eliminated the
Secure Communities program’s financial strain on our police
departments. 

We
must fix our nation’s broken immigration system in ways that make sense
for our economy and safety and respects the dignity of all immigrant
communities. Expanding detention and removal enforcement measures only
pushes our communities further into the shadows. We are a nation of
opportunity and hard work, not a country who condones an immigration
system that separates families and instills fear in communities.
Governor Brown should listen to civil rights organizations, local law
enforcement, mayors, legislatures, and our communities across the great
state of California and sign the TRUST Act.

Honda represents Silicon Valley and
serves on the House Budget and Appropriations committees.

Tags

More Homeland Security News

See All
See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more

Video

See all Video