The California legislature cleared a bill that would prohibit police from honoring ICE detention requests unless illegal aliens are convicted of serious or violent felonies. A number of sheriffs are now asking Gov. Jerry Brown to veto the measure. He has not taken a position on the bill, but must sign or veto it by Sept. 30th.
AB1081, also known as the Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tools or TRUST Act, directly challenges the federal Secure Communities program under which ICE agents can ask police departments to hold any illegal alien under a “detainer.” Illegal-alien advocates have vilified the program, saying it is responsible for most of ICE’s deportations. Gov. Brown had supported Secure Communities when he was state attorney general.
If enacted, AB1081 would be similar to policy adopted by the Cook County, Illinois Board of Commissioners earlier this year. Testifying before Congress recently, ICE Director John Morton said Cook County’s ordinance was “inconsistent with the terms of federal law…(and is) going to lead to additional crimes in Cook County that would have been prevented.” Morton said the Administration was discussing “legal options” against Cook County, including a cut in federal funds that reimburse it for detaining illegal aliens in its jails. He could apply the same sanctions to California if the bill is signed into law.
Nick Warner, legislative director for the California State Sheriffs’ Association, said “We are forcefully pushing for a veto. The sheriffs of this state are actively, unalterably and vehemently opposed.”
Some local law enforcement officials, including Sheriff Lee Baca of Los Angeles County, say that they will respect ICE detainers regardless of what Mr. Brown does. Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for Sheriff Baca, said “It’s pretty simple: Federal law pre-empts state law.”
Sheriff Robert Doyle of Marin County also said he is likely to ignore the measure if it becomes law. He said, “If someone comes to the county jail and he is not here lawfully, I think he should be turned over” to ICE.
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Updated: Mon, Oct 1st 2012 @ 11:19am EDT