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- 07-04-2012, 11:48 PM #1
In California, immigration bill designed as the "anti-Arizona"
By Mary Slosson
SACRAMENTO | Wed Jul 4, 2012 1:19pm EDT
(Reuters) - While America's debate over immigration has been dominated recently by crackdowns in states like Arizona and Alabama, California legislators are trying to turn that tide with a bill to protect illegal immigrants that they dub the "anti-Arizona."
Last week, the top U.S. court upheld the most controversial aspect of Arizona's immigration statute: a requirement that police officers check the immigration status of people they stop, even for minor offenses such as jay-walking.
Enter California, a border state that is home to the largest number of illegal immigrants, most of whom are Hispanic, and is considerably more liberal than its neighbor Arizona.
A bill currently working its way through the California legislature would block local law enforcement from referring a detainee to immigration officials for deportation unless that person has been convicted of a violent or serious felony.
"California cannot afford to become another Arizona," said California Assembly member Tom Ammiano, the bill's sponsor. One of the bill's sponsors, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, calls the effort the "anti-Arizona."
Critics have argued that Arizona's law could lead to illegal racial or ethnic profiling of Hispanics in Arizona. Hispanics are the largest U.S. minority group, representing 16 percent of the population.
Supporters of the Arizona law say it is needed because the federal government has failed to secure the border with Mexico.
The California bill, which has the support of over 100 immigrant rights groups, police chiefs and mayors, was drafted not only as a symbolic counter to legislation in neighboring Arizona, but also to push back against a federal program called Secure Communities that shares the same principles as Arizona's law, supporters say.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, or ICE, established the Secure Communities program in partnership with local law enforcement agencies and the FBI to deport unauthorized immigrants.
Local authorities send fingerprints of those arrested to ICE, which says it prioritizes deporting individuals with criminal convictions. The program was credited as a factor in that agency's highest-ever number of deportations, nearly 400,000 in 2011.
"(Secure Communities) has burdened our local governments and put even victims and witnesses of crime at risk of deportation, making us all less safe," Ammiano said in a statement. "It has even mistakenly trapped U.S. citizens in our local jails for immigration purposes."
The federal program has been responsible for deporting over 72,000 Californians, according to Ammiano, with 70 percent of those deported from the state having either no criminal conviction, or conviction for a minor offense.
Critics have lambasted the program for placing victims of domestic violence in deportation proceedings and deterring immigrants from reporting crimes committed against them.
But the California State Sheriff's Association, which opposes the bill, said that state and local authorities cannot opt out of the Secure Communities program, and that ICE focuses on only the most serious cases, such as convicted criminals and repeat offenders.
The bill, already passed by the state Assembly in a 47-26 vote, now awaits a decision by the state Senate. That vote could come as early as this Thursday, but may be delayed until after legislators take a one-month summer recess beginning next week.
In California, immigration bill designed as the anti-Arizona | ReutersWe have immigration laws that just need to be enforced.
- 07-05-2012, 12:00 AM #2We have immigration laws that just need to be enforced.
- 07-05-2012, 02:45 AM #3
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Thanks Jean, we have to put a stop to this bill!
WClick here to learn more about William Gheen President of ALIPAC
- 07-05-2012, 01:46 PM #4
It's sickening that these leftist freak shows are allowed to thumb their noses at the law...and get away with it.
How about a sanctuary state that harbors rapists? After all, they're just misunderstood and innocent, right?...I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid...
William Barret Travis
Letter From The Alamo Feb 24, 1836
- 07-06-2012, 12:05 AM #5
California Senate passes "anti-Arizona" immigration bill
SACRAMENTO | Thu Jul 5, 2012 10:18pm EDT
(Reuters) - The California Senate on Thursday passed a bill supporters dub the "anti-Arizona" law, which seeks to shield illegal immigrants from status checks by local police and challenges Republican-backed immigration crackdowns in other U.S. states.
The Democrat-led state Senate voted 21 to 13 for the California Trust Act, which blocks local police from referring a detainee to immigration officials for deportation unless that person has been convicted of a violent or serious felony.
The bill has the backing of about 100 immigrant rights groups, police chiefs and mayors.
It has already passed the state Assembly in a 47-26 vote. It will go back to the Assembly for a concurrence vote following the summer recess before heading to Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat.
The measure seeks to create a national model to counter what backers say is racial profiling inherent in the part of Arizona's anti-immigrant law allowed to stand by the U.S. Supreme Court last week.
It also seeks to push back against a federal program called Secure Communities, which shares the same principles as Arizona's law, supporters say.
"Today's vote signals to the nation that California cannot afford to be another Arizona," Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a Democrat who sponsored the measure, said in a statement.
"The bill also limits unjust and onerous detentions for deportation in local jails of community members who do not pose a threat to public safety," he added.
In passing the law, California stands apart from not only Arizona, but also Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah, which have all adopted strict laws in the past two years to try to discourage illegal immigrants from settling in their states.
On June 25, the top U.S. court upheld the most controversial aspect of Arizona's immigration statute: a requirement that police officers check the immigration status of people they stop, even for minor offenses such as jay-walking.
Opponents have argued that Arizona's law could lead to illegal racial or ethnic profiling of Hispanics in the state, while backers say it is needed because the federal government has failed to secure the border with Mexico.
California has the largest population of undocumented immigrants in the United States, with nearly 2.6 million at the start of 2010, according to government figures.
The California State Sheriff's Association, which opposes the bill, argued that state and local authorities cannot opt out of the Secure Communities program.
It argues that the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency focuses on only the most serious cases involving convicted criminals and repeat offenders.
California Senate passes anti-Arizona immigration bill | ReutersWe have immigration laws that just need to be enforced.
- 07-06-2012, 10:54 AM #6
Every time i write to these people, i get the same letter back...over and over again.
They don't care what we think.