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Pelosi, California Democrats urge Gov. Brown to sign Trust Act

September 13, 2012 |  3:16 pm

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi holds a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other California Democrats have sent a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown urging him to sign a bill that would limit local law enforcement's ability to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

AB 1081, known as the Trust Act, passed the state Legislature last month. The California State Sheriffs' Assn. opposes the bill, arguing that it forces sheriffs to put state law above federal law. Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca has said he would defy the Trust Act and continue to participate in the federal Secure Communities program.

Under Secure Communities, local police agencies share arrest information with federal authorities, who can request that the agencies hold an arrestee until federal authorities take custody. The Trust Act would narrow that cooperation to arrestees with serious and violent charges or criminal histories.

Brown, who has until Sept. 30 to sign, has been subjected to lobbying from both sides of the issue.

The Sept. 13 letter lays out the arguments commonly presented by Trust Act proponents: that Secure Communities has ensnared low-level offenders rather than the violent criminals it was intended to deport. Federal immigration detainers are requests, not orders, proponents also argue, adding that the program has caused immigrants to mistrust law enforcement.

Among those joining Pelosi are Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose), Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) and Rep. Sam Farr (D-Carmel).

"The measure is designed to enhance public safety and protect civil liberties, while also promoting fiscal responsibility at the state and local levels," the letter states.


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Photo: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi holds a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday. Credit: J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press