The state House this week unanimously passed a bill sponsored by New Haven state Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield to rein in federal immigration sweeps of undocumented workers.
Holder-Winfield (pictured at a March City Hall immigrant-rights rally) introduced the Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tools (TRUST) Act in response to cases like that of Josemaria Islas, an undocumented New Havener being deported to Mexico after Hamden police arrested him on a robbery charge that turned out to be false. The federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency then detained him and moved to send him back to Mexico under a program called “Secure Communities.” ICE claims it uses the program to deport dangerous offenders. (Read about Islas’s case here and here.)
The TRUST Act would prevent local authorities from turning over any detainees to ICE except in cases of a “serious or violent felony conviction.”
Holder-Winfield said the bill would increase trust between immigrants and cops.
“Having grown up in a community where police were not trusted, I understand that a community is less safe when it is unable to interact with the police,” Holder-Winfield, who is running for mayor in New Haven, said in a press statement released by his campaign. “The protocols set forth in this bill make communities safer, are cost effective and shift the responsibility for immigration back where it belongs with our federal government.”
His bill was one of two immigrant-rights bills passed by the state House this week. The other would grant driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants; read about that here.