Immigration detention will remain a hot topic in California and, really, all across the country until definitive and actionable change takes place within the immigration system. Programs like Secure Communities terrorize people who do not have U.S. citizenship, even though they may be good, honest, hardworking people.
The way Secure Communities works is that local police departments partner with federal immigration authorities to share information about suspects and undocumented immigrants. As a result of this information sharing, local police departments are able to detain and turn people over to federal authorities, likely ending with deportation. Programs like this have been curbed here in California thanks to the TRUST Act, which simply limits the ability of police departments to detain people who are suspected to be undocumented.
The TRUST Act was enacted at the beginning of this year, and it limits such detention to people with serious criminal records. People with straight misdemeanors or people who have no criminal record must be released if there is no reason to hold them.
Measures like this are positive steps, but there are still plenty of abuses that go on within the immigration system. U.S. citizens have been detained and deported simply because the police profile and discriminate against them. Undocumented immigrants have repeatedly been treated poorly while detained, sometimes toiling away in the system for months, if not years, before their case is resolved.
It can be tough for someone facing detention or deportation to realize that they can still seek legal counsel during this difficult time. Sometimes such counseling can expedite their case and help them stay with their family.
Source: KPCC, “California state AG urges compliance with TRUST Act in new bulletin to cops,” Leslie Berestein Rojas, June 25, 2014