Statement from Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, District 13
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 9, 2012
Contact: Quintin Mecke
AMMIANO ISSUES STATEMENT: ICE DIRCTOR JOHN MORTON’S REMARKS DESERVE “AWARD FOR IRONY”
S-Comm's legacy of shattered families, broken trust in police is truly "draconian"
TRUST Act will heal damage S-Comm has caused to California communities
San Francisco - Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-SF) released the following statement today in response to the Congressional Testimony yesterday of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton. Mr. Morton testified yesterday that ICE had no plans to suspend the deeply controversial "Secure" Communities or S-Comm deportation program, even in jurisdictions under investigation for racial profiling, and remarked that suspending the program would be "fairly draconian." Morton also testified that a much-touted review of deportation cases across the nation, now half completed, had resulted in merely 1% of nearly 150,000 cases being administratively reviewed. (Source: La Opinion, in Spanish.)
"If there were an award for the ironic remark of the year, then Mr. Morton’s absurd comments would be a top contender. The definition of draconian means 'unusually severe or cruel,' and few federal programs fit the bill more clearly than S-Comm.
In reality, what is truly draconian is this program's terrible impact on public safety, creating a climate of fear so gripping that even parents of Miramonte students in Los Angeles were too fearful of deportation to contact law enforcement authorities to report their own children’s' abuse.
What is truly draconian is the endless stream of heart-breaking stories of food vendors, crime victims, and even U.S. Citizens and so many other community members trapped needlessly in local jails and swept up in an out of control deportation dragnet.
What is truly draconian is the 65,000 deportations S-Comm has wrought on California, with seven in ten of those deported either presumed innocent or brought in for more minor charges.
What is truly draconian is the fact that despite the great hope sparked by the administration's announcement that it would use "prosecutorial discretion" in deciding which deportation cases to pursue, such a miniscule number of community members have been spared the pain of family separation.
These facts underscore the urgency of passing the TRUST Act in California. We must rebuild community trust in police that S-Comm has shattered so that we can all be safer. We need to ease S-Comm's burden on local governments and communities. And ultimately, all irony aside, the Federal government needs to end this draconian program."
The TRUST Act (AB 1081) sets a clear, minimum standard for local governments not to detain people for deportation unless the individual has a serious or violent felony conviction. These convictions are defined according to existing, clearly established state law. The bill also guards against profiling and wrongful detention of citizens and crime victims. The bill will soon be formally presented in the California Senate.