html Secure Communities is only optional

Secure Communities is only optional

Perla Rodríguez never imagined that an administrative error in the government's database would send her to prison for three days..

Rodríguez, a student at UC Davis, was arrested five months ago by Sacramento police after a traffic violation in the downtown area.

The officer who stopped her was identified as a member of the Secure Communities program so he asked for her documents. She told him that she was an American citizen, but the officer did not find her name in the database and arrested her.

"I spent three nights in jail, wondering what was wrong. They just told me they wanted to make sure I was not undocumented so while they investigated I had to remain in prison," Rodríguez, 23, said.

Rodríguez said that even though her family took her U.S. passport to the police station, they ignored it and said it was not enough evidence. She was released three days later.

Rodríguez was one of dozens of people who testified during the vote on measure AB 1081, known as the Trust Act, sponsored by assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco. The State Assembly's Public Safety Committee passed the bill that seeks that the Secure Communities program or S-Comm, be optional in the state of California.

"This bill is a practical solution that allows local governments to have a voice and restores some balance to the dysfunctional immigration system. We must finish this project as the ICE has lied about its goals and is seeking to deport immigrants," said Ammiano when session concluded.

He also said he was pleased with the committee's approval and is very confident that the Senate will also approve it. "There is much evidence and support from the senators to make this program optional in California."

According to Ammiano, 7 out of 10 Californians deported under the S-Comm system had not committed any crime or were arrested for minor offenses like traffic violations.