July 21st, 2012 16:07 EST
Selling Tamales outside Walmart may Lead to Deportation of Woman
In the wake of the California Senate`s recent approval of the TRUST Act (AB 1081 " Tom Ammiano/D-SF), nationally recognized as an antidote to Arizona`s anti-immigrant SB 1070, the case of Sacramento tamale vendor Juana Reyes is stirring fresh controversy over the harmful impact of Arizona-style deportation policies in California.
Ms. Reyes was trapped in the Sacramento County jail due to an immigration "hold" request on the day in June, and was detained the day the State Senate approved the bill, which if in effect would have prevented her extended detention.
The case also comes to light days before a court could decide whether section 2b of Arizona`s anti-immigrant law may be implemented. That section, which the Supreme Court remanded to a lower court last month, has been described as a parallel to the federal "Secure Communities or S-Comm deportation program, responsible for deporting over 75,000 Californians, 7 in 10 of whom either had no conviction or more minor offenses.
Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-SF), author of the TRUST Act (AB 1081), issued the following statement. Details about Ms. Reyes` case and the bill are available below.
"Had the TRUST Act (AB 1081) been in place, Juana Reyes wouldn`t need a lawyer, wouldn`t need a press conference and would not be facing deportation. Instead, she would still be working hard to provide for her two small children and - as she has for her two decades in the United States - she would still be trying to live a law-abiding life. The Secure Communities program was sold to us as a way to get rid of dangerous criminals but it has been used against too many people like Juana Reyes, people not facing any criminal charges."
We ask ICE to stop targeting people who actually contribute to our communities, as Ms. Reyes does. Because of current federal practices, we will need to continue to work for the passage of the TRUST Act and for its signature by the governor, because it means local authorities would no longer hold people like her for the ICE."
About Ms. Reyes
Ms. Reyes has lived in the US for over twenty years, has two US citizen children, attends church, and has no criminal record. She had sold tamales to patrons and workers outside the Florin Walmart for over two years without incident. But after a new security guard unfairly attempted to remove her on June 28, Sacramento Sheriffs` deputies arrested her on trumped up charges of "trespassing" and "interfering with a business."
While all charges were dropped, as a result of the arrest, Ms. Reyes` information was passed to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). The Sacramento County Sheriff then responded to a "hold" request from ICE, meaning she was held for extra time, at local expense, in the County jail just for deportation purposes " even after her charges were dropped. The TRUST Act would ensure that people like Ms. Reyes are not held for extra time for deportation purposes.
In an additional unnecessary burden on local resources, Child Protective Services also took Ms. Reyes` 2 children, 7 and 10 years old, and placed in foster homes while their mother was unjustly incarcerated.
About the TRUST Act
The TRUST Act would rebuild confidence between immigrant communities and local police and ease S-Comm`s unfair burden on local governments. Localities would only be able to respond to burdensome requests from ICE to detain people for extra time, solely for immigration purposes, if the individual has a serious or violent felony conviction. Localities would also develop plans to guard against profiling, and wrongful detentions of crime victims and witnesses. (This version of the bill does not, however, limit the sharing of fingerprint data.) The TRUST Act heads back to the State Assembly for a concurrence vote after summer recess, following which it will head to the Governor`s desk.