Connecticut legislature has passed a bill that will limit the state’s participation in the Secure Communities program and protect immigrants from deportation. The federal Secure Communities program is a nationwide legal program that has local police detain witnesses and victims of crimes.
Last year, a New Haven resident, Josemaria Islas, was arrested for stealing a bicycle but was proven to be innocent of the crime. He is now in federal prison awaiting deportation. Islas’s sister stated, “Hispanics can’t feel safe when they see police.”
Under the Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tools (TRUST) Act, local police can only detain a person if the person was convicted of a serious crime, is on a terrorist watch list, is in a violent gang, or already has an outstanding deportation order. The TRUST Act passed unanimously in the Connecticut House and Senate. Governor Malloy is expected to sign the bill into law.
The purpose of the bill is to make communities safer because immigrants will not be afraid to report crimes to the police, allowing them to have more trust in the police to protect them. Local police should not be seen as an extension of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but as protectors of their local communities. As of now, it is very difficult for immigrants to trust police and undocumented residents do not want to report crimes because they are afraid of being deported.
What do you think of the TRUST Act? Let us know in the comments below!
For more information about Islas’s case and the TRUST Act, click here!
For more blog posts about Immigration Law, click here!