California Immigration Lawyer Blog

Articles Posted in Immigration Enforcement

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California State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano representing San Francisco has co-sponsored a bill called “The Trust Act” (AB 1081) The Trust Act is a bill which would allow counties to opt-out from full participation in federal enforcement program called “Secured Communities,” also known as S-Comm.

Currently anyone who is arrested and booked has their fingerprints taken. The “Secure Communities” program allows the prints to not only be checked against FBI criminal history records but also against Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) immigration records. If the fingerprints match DHS records, Immigration Customs and Enforcement (“ICE”) determines if they should become involved in “enforcement action” – another name for deporting the person.

According to Assemblyman Ammiano’s discussion of the bill on his website, ICE has misled the public about Secure Communities, “whose real focus is more spin than safety. In fact seven in ten Californians deported under S-Comm had committed no crime or were picked up for minor offenses like traffic violations.”

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Today Immigration Customs and Enforcement (“ICE”) announced an arrangement with Imperial County Sheriff’s Department in which individuals during the booking process will have their biometric data checked with Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) data and FBI data to determine whether or not they are in the United States illegally. When a person’s fingerprints match those of someone in DHS’ biometric data system, ICE is automatically notified. ICE will then take steps to determine the individual’s immigration status and then take appropriate action after the offender completes his or her prison term.

ICE already has agreements with Los Angeles County and San Diego County. Nationwide coverage is expected by 2013.

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Yesterday, San Francisco’s newest police chief, George Gascon was sworn into office. With only one day in office he already recognizes that immigration enforcement is a controversial issue in San Francisco.

In a news story reported by KCBS, Chief Gascon indicated that he is opposed to immigration raids. He does not believe that the local police should be doing immigration work. While agreeing that undocumented individuals need to follow the same rules as everyone else, he stated that in order for local authorities to be effective, they need to work closely in the community. They cannot be effective if community members will not talk to the police because they are afraid of being deported.