For Immediate Release, August 28, 2013
Prominent clergy denounce “false promise and blind injustice” of S-comm deportation program,
Encourage State Sheriffs Association to transform stance on bill
2013.8.28 – Today, a broad coalition of more than 300 religious leaders from across California released a letter urging the California State Sheriff’s Association to drop its opposition to the TRUST Act and back the anti-deportation, pro-community safety measure as it nears the Governor’s desk.
The letter features signatures representing several state and regional religious networks, clergy, and other religious leaders from congregations spanning 65 California cities and encompassing the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist faiths. Priests, rabbis, ministers, imams, friars, nuns, and congregational leaders joined in the call to action.
The latest in a growing wave of support from police chiefs, members of Congress, and legal experts, the religious leaders’ letter differs in that it appeals directly to the state Sheriffs Association, the principle opposition to the bill. In the letter, the clerics ask the Association to “mitigate needless suffering and separation of families” by supporting the compromise version of the TRUST Act passed early last month.
The bill, AB 4 by Assemblymember Ammiano, would ease the painful impact of the “Secure” Communities or S-Comm deportation program, which turns even low level or unjustified arrests into extended detentions for deportation purposes in local jails. S-Comm has split families apart, undermined community confidence in law enforcement, and led to the deportation of nearly 100,000 Californians, most with minor convictions or none at all.
In the letter, the faith leaders declare that “The false promise and blind injustice of the Secure Communities program is an affront to religious conscience and rational governance, and contrary to our American values of family and community.”
After detailing immigration authorities’ track record of broken promises on S-Comm, which was originally intended to focus only on those with serious convictions, the leaders take a firm moral stance: “There is no justification for subjecting aspiring citizens to extended detention and deportation when they would otherwise be released and reunited with their families. Inflicting this hardship on them does not make us safer but weakens and destabilizes the very communities we live in.”
The letter invites the Sheriffs’ Association to join the faith leaders in supporting the bill – significantly amended to address concerns previous expressed by Governor Jerry Brown – in order to uphold “the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and the opportunity of each person to participate fully and equally in the communities of which they are a member”
To see the letter with signatures, go to: http://bit.ly/148Dsx0