Jose Antonio Vargas for CNN: California bill would halt unfair deportations

September 28th, 2012

CNN
Septmeber 28, 2012
By Jose Antonio Vargas

 

 

 

(CNN) — Arizona’s immigration law, Senate Bill 1070, has generated a lot of ink recently, especially with a court ruling last week that allowed a controversial provision that in my view will result in racial profiling to move forward.

The law’s goal is chilling: ramp up deportations of undocumented people by forcing local police into the difficult role of immigration agents. And with last week’s ruling, police are now required to go out of their way to investigate the immigration status of everyone they “suspect” might be undocumented whom they arrest or stop.

In practice, that will mean targeting people just for the way they look or speak, separating families, and trapping undocumented people in local jails for minor infractions to await deportation.

As an undocumented American — and I am, in my heart, an American — it is my hope that our nation doesn’t follow Arizona’s discriminatory example. Will Arizona become the norm, or can we work as a nation to fix dysfunctional immigration policies so that they reflect our best values as Americans?

All eyes are now on California for a key part of the answer.

Sitting on the Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk is the most important piece of legislation for immigrant communities this year. By signing the bill, called the TRUST Act, Brown can prevent the separation of thousands of families, establish an alternative to Arizona’s approach and send a powerful message to the nation: In a state built and replenished by generations of immigrants, fairness and equality matter.

Under the TRUST Act, local law enforcement would only be able to hold people for extra time, for deportation purposes, if the person has been convicted of, or charged with, a serious or violent felony.

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