Have Some Trust: California to Pass Anti-Arizona Immigration Bill

California's new Trust Act looks to lower the number of deportations in the state.

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REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

California is taking a stand on immigration – and it doesn’t exactly jive with a recent ruling by the Supreme Court on the issue.  Last week, the California State Senate passed the TRUST Act, a move that is in direct contrast to the high court decision upholding a controversial provision of Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration law requiring police to check the status of people they stop for another reason, if they suspect the person is undocumented.  This new bill, also being called the “Anti-Arizona” bill, would lower the number of deportations in the wake of the commission of minor crimes. The TRUST Act will now go to the California state assembly and will most likely pass.

The law would mean that, contrary to what goes on now, evidence of against an immigrant could only be passed on to federal officials after a violent or serious felony. Currently, getting pulled over for merely pausing at a stop sign could mean your fingerprints get sent straight to the feds.

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“Today’s vote signals to the nation that California cannot afford to be another Arizona,” Tom Ammiano, a Democratic Assemblyman who introduced the bill told reporters in a statement after the legislation passed in the Senate on Thursday. “The bill also limits unjust and onerous detentions…of community members who do not pose a threat to public safety.”

While a majority of legislators seem to support the measure, the California Sheriff’s Organization does not, saying that it would place their officers in the awkward position of choosing whether to follow federal or state law.

(MORE: Our National Immigration Policy: Still Clear as Mud)

According to those who support the bill, state cooperation with Secure Communities—the program that currently requires fingerprints to be sent to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency—keeps many immigrants from reporting crimes even when they are the victim (in cases like domestic abuse) for fear that they will be deported.

The law would be a landmark in immigration reform legislation as California has an estimated 2.5 million undocumented immigrants—the largest population in America.

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