On July 2nd, 2013 undocumented immigrants took it upon themselves to make their voices heard in Sacramento. A group of undocumented immigrants, some of them parents; students; and activists staged a sit in Governor Brown’s office demanding that he lives up to his promise to pass the TRUST Act. In 2012 the California House and Senate passed a similar version of the TRUST Act but Brown vetoed it. He assured that he would sign a version that more specifically outlined the criminal charges that would be exempted from the current police-to-ICE sharing of fingerprints. This 2013 version of the Trust Act was written in a way that does exactly just that, so unless the current ICE director doesn’t blackmail Brown again, there is really no other reason why he should not sign it.
More than sixty thousand Californians have been deported since the “Secure” Communities program started being implemented, some of them for reasons like being involved in a car accident. Others for street vending and some are people that simply made a mistake once and are now being robbed of their chance of bettering themselves in this country. The TRUST Act will limit the “Secure” Communities program responsible for all of these and a majority of other deportation cases in California.
These people risking arrest are from different parts of California from San Diego to the Bay Area. The group is in part formed by people who are or have been previously in deportation proceedings. They have been sharing their stories along the way and at the same time have collected that of others as part of a caravan that has lasted ten days up until reaching its goal in Sacramento. In each city they have found that the “Secure” Communities program is one of the main causes of deportation. Even though undocumented immigrants have been the most affected, Governor Brown has opposed meeting with them in regards the subject. He has previously consulted with the California State Sheriffs’ Association and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton, both known for being militant about the implementation of the program and for financially benefiting from each deportation.
Some of the participants have stated that since their voices are not being heard, that they will make themselves heard. As they chanted “Undocumented and Unafraid” in the California State Capitol they made their statement loud and clear– that the only thing to fear is the people’s silence.