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Immigration reform: Secure Communities and California's push to limit its impact


California has moved a step closer to passing a bill that would roll back the state's participation in Secure Communities, a controversial program aimed at deporting dangerous immigrants. Under the program, all arrestees' fingerprints are shared with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

On Thursday, the Assembly passed the TRUST Act by a  43-22 vote. The measure would require that only the fingerprints of convicted felons be run through federal databases.  The bill, sponsored by Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), would essentially reset the rules for how California counties participate in Secure Communities.

Secure Communities was touted as a way to help identify and deport illegal immigrants convicted of serious crimes. But over the past year, the program has come under fire from those who say it has failed to track down or deport dangerous immigrants. Department of Homeland Securities' statistics indicate that many of those deported under the program had never been convicted of a crime or were guilty of only minor crimes.

Critics also accuse federal officials of misleading state and county officials who questioned whether participation in the program was option. Homeland Security officials appear to have initially told some local officials they could opt out but have since said no such provision exists.

California is among a growing number of states saying they want to modify or opt out of Secure Communities. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn recently ended his state's agreement, though it's unclear if Homeland Security will honor that decision.


Lee Baca: Let us deport the bad guys

Illinois ditches program intended to deport dangerous immigrants

Unlicensed drivers: Impounding is not the answer

Let police pursue criminals, not immigrants

--Sandra Hernandez

Photo: The Secure Communities program runs the fingerprints of everyone who is booked into jail against FBI criminal history records and Department of Homeland Security immigration records to determine who is in the country illegally and whether they've been arrested before. Credit: Chris Schneider / Associated Press


Comments () | Archives (23)

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How sad. I hope CA falls into the ocean.


this people are undocumented but still human. obama should do some thing about this guys and the republican are using them for there intrest.what the latino should do is strike on agriculture jobs and all other jobs, so we see how they deal with it.and of course they shoudn't go to vote at all.


abdelghani, Hitler was human too. By your standards, we should have done nothing to that guy either.

You racist you. Since you are calling on only latinos to strike, you are assuming that only latinos are here illegally.

Tank you for taking the time to prove how dumb you are.

How about California and abdelghani falling into the Ocean.


Any state or county that wants to opt out of Secure Communities and refuse to enforce federal law should have any and all federal funding completely cut off. That should get everybody on board with the program pretty quickly.

Mitchell Young

On the right track, mikeRx

I'd start with the SCAAP program, which partially reimburses the state for incarceration of illegal alien prisoners -- who are something like 15% of the Cali prison population. The California legislature has spoken -- they prefer to shelter illegal aliens from Federal law. Therefore, there is see no reason why the citizens of, say, Arizona, should be paying for the costs of California's illegals.

Indeed, maybe its time for native-born Americans to start 'opting out' of a lot of things. Can you legally make a major (or minor) purchase without paying California sales tax -- via the internet or a short trip to Oregon or (ironically) Mexico? Then do it. Called to jury duty? Use every avenue possible to avoid it. Want to invest in some bonds? Do not choose California (probably wise anyway) or its municipalities. There are of course more borderline options -- but you know, if immigration rules are 'optional', maybe all those rules governing legitimate businesses and individuals -- self-reporting of income, for example -- should be optional too.


How many gang members are deported BEFORE they do horrible things? It saves tax payers money to simply deport these gang thugs rather than try them, spend tens of thousands on their incarceration, then deport them. Cops often know who the bad guy are, whether or not they have the evidence to prove it. Being able to arrest and deport these gang thugs is a benefit to the community, whether they've been convicted of a violent felony or not.

The simply truth is the Amnesty supporters think that drug dealers, drunk drivers, those convicted of robbery or simply assault shouldn't be deported at all. They don't just want to prevent them from being deported, they want to give them citizenship and honestly, rights above and beyond ordinary Americans. Ordinary Americans can't drive without a license or insurance. The LA Raza/Amnesty supporter types think that the holier-than-thou illegals shouldn't ever be judged for their law breaking. They should be rewarded with citizens and benefits because their are a minority and all us racist whities should bend over and take it.


Apparently California has too many parasites embedded to save itself and, except for the gringo dollars flowing from the feds, has chosen to opt out of being in the United States.

The Searcher

The Democrats in the state legislature could care less about trying to solve the massive problem of illegal immigration. They are interested more in supporting illegals hoping that eventually they will become legal and vote for the Democratic party. How pathetic!

Carlos San Jacinto

The Trust act seems like a very big mistake. Secure Communities should be something every state participates in. Its for our own good. It does not seem like a good idea to ignore our immigration laws. But since this measure passed by a large majority we must accept the consequences.


Yes, Mitchell Young, you are correct. It's time for us native-born Californians to start "opting out" of a few laws ourselves. Like paying taxes, buying car insurance, paying car registration fees, and buying business licenses.

If illegals can get away without doing those things, why shouldn't native-born legal citizens do them also?


Just cut off all federal help and let them live with their illegials and their massive debt caused by the latter , and slid into the ocean.

P. Murray

So the next time a Terrorist gets arrested he will be released without running his fingerprints as long as he does not have a record in the US. That is just great. The 9/11 terrorists had overstayed Visas and would have been in the federal system. Everyone is too quick to cry fowl about racial discrimination. EVERYBODY that gets arrested gets run through the program. There are illegal aliens her from every country in the world.

Demad rights for these people, until one of them drives drunk into a car load of nuns, then it is ICE's fault. Just let them go, it was only "suspicion" of molesting a child, until it's your child.

Wake up people.


--Sandra Hernandez of the LA Times, which party do the 43 who voted for this belong to? How about the 22 who voted against?

Not running fingerprints through the system means foregoing the federal criminal database information also. So someone not on the record here as having been convicted of a crime could have been convicted of or wanted for a heinous crime elsewhere, get bail and skip town.


Our borders are compromised daily; American citizens are not safe and secure because they do not have adequate border control. The Department of Health is making it mandatory for our children to have extra immunizations because of illegal immigration. Once illegals cross the border they appear to become American citizens, they are afforded many rights, example: education, welfare, housing etc. Illegal immigrants are actually protesting because they are angry that they do not have more rights. What are the courts and the politicians planning now? Elections are fast approaching so let the games begin.


California gets what California deserves.


We need comprehensive immigration reform.

Comprehensive meaning all illegals regardless of race, age, duration of stay in the US, etc.

Reform meaning deportation since today relatively few illegals are deported.



Efrain rojas

Why does Mr.Ammiano presume to speak for all Latinos? As a naturalized citizen of the United States with a large family still in Mexico I don't want Mexico's culture of indifference to law and order to become ingrained into ours. The law needs to have teeth in order to get the message across that you better behave yourself if you are gonna try and make it in the United States. Self appointed activists with noisemakers only speak for themselves not the silent Latino majority.

Joel Wischkaemper

Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) does not reflect the interests of the people of California. In fact, he does represent the interests of the big hotels in San Francisco who, once again, want those service personnel and the cheap wages. I would bet too, that the way they have those hotel jobs set up, they are part time, and so long as you don't go to school, you can work in the hotels and collect welfare. The Secure Communities is binding, and SB 1070 is going to be ruled legal. No matter though.. our Democratic Reps will be sure the Hotels and Growers will walk.


Take this interesting survey about Spanish in the US!: https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?hl=en_US&formkey=dDBtc2szSU9lTXpFdkc4OXpISEc1YXc6MA#gid=0

Clifton McFarland

Illegal Immigrants in this country have already broken a major federal law by crossing into the United States Illegally, and the American public is paying mightily for that, and now you want to give them sanctuary by opting out of the ICE Secure Communties Program for fear of deporting people for minor infractions. Give me a break, and let's get real, and stop playing around with this mess, if you are here illegally and get caught, and deported, that's on you. Illegal means Illegal


Sacramento Democrats are the reason California is the mecca of welfare recipients and illegal aliens (who in many cases are one and the same). Thirty percent of all of the welfare recipients in the United States reside in California and 25% of all of the illegal aliens are here as well.

Some day soon the takers are going to out number the givers and Californians will pay the price for their stupidity.

Jim B

Wow this is just great for crime ridden cities like LA and for California as a whole. More crime and more criminals on the street. Haven;t you had enough California? We have canceled our annual vacation to the state for the last 2 years, we used to love Santa Cruz and Monterey but it is just not a safe place to vacation anymore.



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