From: California Immigrant Policy Center

For immediate release: Dec. 21, 2012

Contact: Jon Rodney, 510-451-4882 ext. 304, Gabriela Villareal, 510-451-4882 ext. 303 

Movement to pass TRUST Act spurs new guidelines from ICE, but few families will be kept together in practice

Today's announcement underscores need for Gov. Brown to sign TRUST Act to fill in significant gaps in policy

2012.12.21 - Today, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced new guidelines concerning the "Secure" Communities program and immigration detainer requests. In response to the announcement, Reshma Shamasunder, Executive Director of the California Immigrant Policy Center, issued the following statement:

Today's announcement by ICE regarding the S-comm program reaffirms what immigrant advocates have been calling for after several years of watching the program's disastrous results in communities throughout California: S-comm is a program that should be scrapped because it makes no one safer and tears families apart. It further validates the painful experiences of ice cream and tamale vendors, domestic violence survivors, and so many other community members who have unfairly faced deportation.

Hiding in the fine print of the announcement are significant loopholes that mean that in practice, the program will continue to undermine community confidence in law enforcement and will continue to result in unjust detentions of aspiring citizens (or citizens, for that matter.) The guidelines do not reflect our cherished value of due process - of the right to a day in court -and rely on a pre-conviction model that will still trap survivors of domestic violence and other crime victims and witnesses in deportations. The guidelines also continue to confuse criminal matters with immigration violations, meaning many people who aspire to become citizens but have previously been hurt by dysfunctional immigration policies will continue to be held for deportation. A mother seeking only to support her children, or a young person seeking to return to the only home they have ever known after an unjustified deportation, should not be subject to the S-Comm dragnet.

Today's announcement - and the grim figure of over 409,000 deportations nationally this year, a new record of shattered families and broken trust - underscores the need for California to take further action to uphold our values of due process and family unity. With swift passage of the TRUST Act (AB - Ammiano), a strong, statewide standard to limit burdensome ICE hold requests, we will truly rebuild community confidence in law enforcement, save local resources, and keep families together.