Legislature Passes Trust Act Bill To Lamont For Protecting Undocumented Immigrants

May 30, 2019

In 2013 both the House and Senate unanimously passed the Trust Act, setting conditions for state and local law enforcement authorities for voluntarily cooperating with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials seeking to detain and deport undocumented immigrants.

Connecticut’s Trust Act struck an important balance between helping ICE agents when it serves the interests of public safety and maintaining effective relationships with local communities that our law enforcement agencies need for maintaining public safety for all.

Since then, we’ve discovered various loopholes and problems in the law that needed to be addressed. Working with my Judiciary Committee Co-chair, Gary Winfield, we introduced Senate Bill 992, which makes the necessary changes. Both the House and Senate have passed the legislation to the governor for his expected signature.

The legislation:

  • Prohibits law enforcement from detaining someone solely on the basis of a Civil Immigration Detainer, which is an administrative request, unless it is accompanied by a judicial warrant, or if the person is guilty of our most serious felonies or is on the terrorist watch list
  • Limits information sharing with ICE
  • Law enforcement must inform individual when ICE has requested their detention
  • Includes “School Police and Security Department” and adds “bail commissioners” and “probation officers” under the definition of law enforcement for purposes of disclosing information to ICE

ICE detentions and deportations are destroying families. In the last two years, federal officials have been pursuing immigration enforcement indiscriminately across the country and at our borders, fomenting fear in immigrant communities and undermining community trust.

Right here in Bridgeport, the undocumented husband of resident Veronica Ubaldo was detained by ICE at his final meeting with his probation officer after two years of working hard to comply with terms of his probation resulting from a motor vehicle accident. The father of four – a 20-year resident – had left the accident scene because he was afraid of his immigration status. Shortly after being detained he was moved to a holding location for deportation.

Now more than ever, we have to make sure Connecticut does not become entangled by the actions of the federal government. While we need to maintain public safety by cooperating with federal authorities in certain cases, we must also strike the right balance and protect the trust built with communities.

As always, please feel free to reach me with any questions, comments or concerns at Steve.Stafstrom@cga.ct.gov or 860-240-1371. Please be sure to follow my official Facebook page for more frequent updates.