TRUST Act Is An Important Stand Against Federal Immigration Policy

In a CNN column today, Jose Antonio Vargas calls California’s TRUST Act “the most important piece of legislation for immigrant communities this year.” Vargas is an award-winning journalist who revealed his own undocumented status last year.

Vargas acknowledges the TRUST Act has supporters on both sides of the political aisle—including CEI. He writes:

Undocumented people and their allies — their relatives and friends, their neighbors and co-workers — have created a new political climate in which the passage of the TRUST Act is not simply the right thing to do, but the politically strategic thing to do, with supporters from across the political spectrum, from Nancy Pelosi to right-leaning think tanks such as the Cato Institute and Competitive Enterprise Institute.

The TRUST Act is a state attempt to avoid compliance with the controversial federal Secure Communities program (S-Comm), which asks local law enforcement officials to detain suspected illegal immigrants. CEI’s David Bier explained his support of the bill in a Huffington Post op-ed a couple of weeks ago:

When the Bush administration first introduced S-Comm in 2008, it was clear that participation was voluntary. Localities had to sign up to participate, and ICE recruited just eleven jurisdictions. But the Obama administration has attempted to convince police departments that involvement is mandatory. […]

If the detainers were mandatory, they likely would be found unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in Printz v. U.S. 521 U.S. 898 (1997) that the “Federal Government may not compel the States to enact or administer a federal regulatory program,” nor ” impress into its service–and at no cost to itself–the police officers of the 50 States.” […]

The TRUST Act simply affirms this principle, stating that ICE “may not mandate the expenditure of state and local resources or the use of state and local agencies to implement federal programs.” The bill requires “continued detention” accord with state and local policy and applies it only to individuals who have “have been convicted of a serious or violent felony, according to a criminal background check or documentation provided to the law enforcement official by [ICE]” (Sec. 2(a)).

Read Bier’s full op-ed here.