It was just last weekend that California Governor Jerry Brown disappointed immigrant communities and activists in his state and across the nation by vetoing the TRUST Act, a bill that would have kept immigrants out of federal detention and protected from deportation if they did not have an outstanding criminal record.
Now the city of Los Angeles has decided that the protection of immigrant communities is important enough that it will move on its own, city-wide level of the TRUST Act–with or without Gov. Brown.
As the New York Times wrote today:
At a news conference, [Police Chief Charlie] Beck said he hoped to put in place a set of protocols by the start of next year, under which the Los Angeles police will no longer honor requests from federal agencies to detain illegal immigrants who are arrested for nonviolent offenses like driving without a license, illegal vending or being drunk in public unless they were part of a street gang or had a criminal record.
The announcement was the biggest and potentially most controversial step yet for Chief Beck, who has been in his post since 2009, into the highly politicized waters of immigration enforcement. Under Secure Communities, a federal program that began in 2008, local law enforcement agencies share with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials the fingerprints of everyone they arrest.
But Chief Beck said the program had impeded efforts to keep the city safe by eroding trust between the Police Department and the communities in Los Angeles.
“Community trust is extremely important to effective policing,” he said. “So it’s my intent, by issuing this change in procedures, that we gain this trust back.”
In the wake of Brown’s dismal failure to sign the TRUST Act and protect immigrants statewide, we’re glad that cities like LA are at least willing to step up and show the nation what anti-Arizona policies look like.
According to the Times, the department plans to list the offenses for which immigrants will not be detained in the coming months. The police commission must then approve the policy.