UPDATE: The California State Assembly voted in favor of the amended Trust Act on Tuesday. The bill now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk and will become law if he chooses to sign it.
The California state Senate passed the Trust Act by a vote of 24 to 10 on Monday, California daily La Opinión reports. The immigration legislation must now head to the lower house -- which passed an earlier version of the bill -- to approve amendments before heading to Gov. Jerry Brown’s office for a signature.
The legislation, which would restrict local police from detaining undocumented immigrants without serious criminal records on behalf of federal immigration authorities, is one of a flurry of bills flooding through the state legislature as the session draws to a close.
Brown vetoed the Trust Act last year, calling it “fatally flawed” because he said the list of offenses classified as serious crimes under the bill was not extensive enough. “For example, the bill would bar local cooperation even when the person arrested has been convicted of certain crimes involving child abuse, drug trafficking, selling weapons, using children to sell drugs, or gangs.”
Brown has yet to say whether he would back the bill this time around. A group of 28 members of the California Democratic congressional delegation wrote to him last month urging him to sign the Trust Act into law.
The Trust Act emerged as a reaction against Secure Communities, an enforcement program that allows Immigration and Customs Enforcement to identify undocumented immigrants detained by local law enforcement by sharing fingerprints and other data. The program had led to almost 80,000 deportations in California as of April, according to Fusion.
President Barack Obama has ramped up deportations since taking office in 2008, setting new records by expelling roughly 400,000 people per year. Administration officials view Secure Communities as a way to focus on deporting people with serious criminal records.
But opponents, who refer to the program as “S-Comm,” say it ensnares many non-criminals or low-level offenders, undermines trust between immigrant communities and police, and sticks the state with the bill for locking people up that would otherwise be turned free.
The text of the Trust Act, Assembly Bill 4, also raises due process questions about the use of immigration detainers, as requests from ICE to local authorities to hold a suspected deportable immigrant are called:
Unlike criminal detainers, which are supported by a warrant and require probable cause, there is no requirement for a warrant and no established standard of proof, such as reasonable suspicion or probable cause, for issuing an ICE detainer request. Immigration detainers have erroneously been placed on United States citizens as well as immigrants who are not deportable.
Similar efforts are under way at the local level.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is considering an ordinance that would make it illegal for local law enforcement to detain people only on the basis of their immigration status. The city and county are governed by a board of supervisors rather than a city council.
Also on HuffPost:
Illegal crossings are way down
Despite the panic about the unsecured border, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/obamas-claims-on-illegal-border-crossings/2013/06/17/051a0f70-d787-11e2-a016-92547bf094cc_blog.html" target="_blank">illegal crossings have actually dropped to a 40-year low</a>.
Apprehensions per Border Patrol agent are way down
Even as illegal crossings have plummeted, both the Bush and Obama administrations have put more Border Patrol agents on the U.S.-Mexico border. The Border Patrol has quintupled in size since 2003 to more than 21,000, according to Adam Isacson at the Washington Office on Latin America. Back in 1993, the <a href="http://borderfactcheck.tumblr.com/post/53456378591/is-doubling-border-patrol-again-a-wise-use-of" target="_blank">Border Patrol averaged 327 apprehensions per agent</a>. Today, that figure stands at 19 per agent. How effective will it be to double the size of the Border Patrol once more?
The birth rate has precipitously declined
Mexico's birth rate has declined from about seven children per mother in <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/10/mexico-immigrants-labor_n_3055336.html" target="_blank">1970 to just over two children per mother today</a>. That means that another era of mass migration like the one we saw in the 1990s is unlikely to repeat itself any time in the next few decades. According to Shannon O'Neil, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, "in the next decade we may be urging Mexicans to come to the United States.”
Mexico creates U.S. jobs
Trade with Mexico supports some 6 million jobs in the United States, <a href="http://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/State_of_Border_Trade_Economy_0.pdf" target="_blank">according to the Wilson Center</a>. Why impede that?
Mexico is the United States' 3rd-largest trade partner
Combined total trade between the United States and Mexico last year topped $535 billion <a href="http://www.voxxi.com/border-fence-economic-relation-mexico-us/" target="_blank">, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The United States only does more trade with China and Canada,</a> and we have a free trade agreement designed precisely to <em>open</em> the border rather than keep it shut.
Mexico is the 11th-largest economy in the world
Border hawks may want to ditch the notion that Mexico is an impoverished country filled with people who only dream of migrating to the United States. <a href="http://www.voxxi.com/border-fence-economic-relation-mexico-us/" target="_blank">Mexico is the 11th-largest economy</a> in the world, and its <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/News/mexico-approaches-middle-class-country-status/story?id=19398145" target="_blank">middle class is growing</a>.
El Paso is the safest city in the country
Those panicking about border security should take note that the Western Texas city of El Paso, which abuts one of the more dangerous cities in Mexico, is <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/08/2-us-mexico-border-cities_n_2647897.html" target="_blank">ranked as the safest large city in the United States</a>, according to Congressional Quarterly's annual ranking. San Diego, another border city, came in at second-safest.