The Trust Act: Will Jerry Brown Have “Blood on His Hands”?

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

September 22, 2012

Governor Jerry Brown has until September 30 to veto or sign the Trust Act, an insultingly named bill that would allow local police officers to release aliens even if Immigration and Customs officials want them detained pursuant to Secure Communities. The Trust Act passed the Democratic controlled legislature last month. Read the CAPS homepage story about the Trust Act here.

Brown is under intense pressure from the powerful California Hispanic lobby and some of Congress’ most influential, pro-alien representatives including House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Zoe Lofgren to sign the bill. Curiously, when Brown was Attorney General (2007-2011), he helped implement Secure Communities so he must have had confidence in the program’s ability to reduce crime. [Flurry of Immigration Bills Will Test Gov. Brown, by Matt O’Brien, Mercury News, August 28, 2012]

Among the many myths that illegal immigration advocates promote is that the Trust Act will help build “trust” between law enforcement and alien enclaves and  mitigate the supposed “chilling effect” enforcement has on immigrant communities. Not surprisingly, no evidence exists to support their claim.

A year ago, the Center for Immigration Studies’ Jessica Vaughn, Director of Policy Studies, attended the National Sheriffs’ Association conference. Sheriffs Adrian Garcia (Harris County, TX which includes Houston), Rich Stanek (Minneapolis) and Sam Page (Greensboro, NC) were unanimous in their opinions that Secure Communities is effective. More to the point, the sheriffs told of their outreach to the local Latino neighborhoods to convince them that Secure Communities helps protect them against drug dealers, unlicensed drunk drivers and convicted felons. Since Secure Communities started in October 2008 and through May 2012, ICE has identified about 970,000 criminal aliens and removed 194,000 of them. Read Jessica’s blog report here.

Jamiel Shaw, Sr., whose son Jamiel, Jr. was killed by Pedro Espinoza, an alien with a long criminal record, recorded a video here which said that if Governor Brown doesn’t veto the Trust Act, he’ll have “blood on his hands.”

In another gut-wrenching video Danielle Bologna whose husband and two sons were killed in 2008 by gang-banger Edwin Ramos describes her emotions here. Since their murders, Danielle has lost her house (her husband was the family’s sole wage earner), moved her children out of San Francisco and entered the witness protection program.

Ramos was sentenced to three consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole; for Espinoza, the death penalty. The sentences provided cold comfort to the Shaw and Bologna families however

California’s leadership failure of such magnitude has serious consequences for innocent citizens like Shaw, Bologna and hundreds of other alien crime victims. Signing the Trust Act is indefensible under any circumstances. In his audio statement, Shaw pleaded with Governor Brown not “to put us in danger.” Let’s hope Brown listens.

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