Catholic bishops gathered Thursday afternoon to announce their support for the TRUST Act, authored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, which would allow California to opt out of the federal immigration enforcement program known as Secure Communities.
Bishop William Justice of the San Francisco Archdiocese spoke at the rally to denounce current immigration policy.
Secure Communities allows U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to legally access the fingerprints of anyone arrested by a local law enforcement agency, to verify citizenship. According to ICE, S-Comm has led to 72,694 deportations to date.
“California is leading the nation in unfair deportations,” said Jon Rodney, communications coordinator for the California Immigration Policy Center.
The TRUST Act would deny ICE access to an individual’s fingerprints unless he or she has been convicted of a serious or violent felony.
Bishop Justice, formerly pastor for St. Peter’s and Mission Dolores Parish in the Mission District, said the San Francisco Archdiocese decided to support the bill because “We’re interested in human rights, the dignity that a person has from God.”
The TRUST Act goes before the Senate Public Safety Committee on Tuesday, June 12.