Wilner & O'Reilly, APLC
One Practice. One Focus. One Passion: Immigration Law.

Immigration officials ignore Trust Act violation

Reliance upon inaccurate information in a computer database appears to be the cause of a violation by Orange County Sheriff's Department deputies of California's Trust Act. Under the law that went into effect in January, law enforcement agencies in the state cannot hold a person in custody on just a detainer request from U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement except under specific circumstances enumerated in the statute.

According to the sheriff's department, Santa Ana police detained a 25-year-old man on an outstanding warrant and held in the local jail. Deputies from the sheriff's department reviewed the man's criminal record and immigration status. The man's record apparently showed a prior conviction for a crime for which the Trust Act authorized holding him for deportation. Although the conviction information subsequently proved to be incorrect, the man had already been turned over to immigration officials to be held under threat of deportation.

Federal officials responded to pleas from immigration attorneys and civil rights organizations throughout the state demanding the man's release by citing federal law. According to an ICE representative, a violation of the Trust Act by state officials does not preclude enforcement of federal laws pertaining to the deportation of a person who commits a crime while not holding U.S. citizenship.

The Trust Act seeks to prevent someone from being held under a threat of deportation except where authorized under law and supported by probable cause. A violation of the Act might subject law enforcement officials to civil lawsuits for monetary damages. A remedy that might be available to someone held by federal immigration officials following a Trust Act violation is challenging the detention as a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Source: Voice Of OC, "Sheriff's Department Acknowledges Trust Act Violation", Yvette Cabrera and Nick Gerda, July 08, 2014

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