Santa Cruz City Council Votes for ICE and “Secure Communities” (S-Comm)

On May 10, the Santa Cruz City Council failed, by a 4-3 vote, to pass a resolution in support of AB 1081 (The Trust Act), which would change California’s contract with ICE-DHS over “Secure Communities” (S-Comm). AB 1081 honors local governments’ right to decide whether and how to participate in S-Comm.

“Secure Communities” (S-Comm) is a federal program that requires local law enforcement agencies to share the fingerprints of all people arrested to immigration enforcement and target those suspected of immigration violations for detention and deportation. This mandated sharing occurs regardless of the type of crime and even if the charges are dropped.

ICE has sold S-Comm to local police departments as a program focused on Level I “high-threat” criminal immigrants (such as kidnappers, drug dealers and murders). However, according to ICE’s own data, the vast majority (79%) of people deported due to S-Comm are non-criminals or were picked up for lower level offenses, such as traffic offenses or petty juvenile mischief.

Local community members in support of AB 1081, who greatly outnumbered opponents (Take Back Santa Cruz) at the city council meeting, point out that in Santa Cruz County, the percentages of persons deported who are categorized as non-criminals or low level offenders is 86%, which is higher than the national average.

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