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Idea of the Day: The TRUST Act Is Smart Legislation

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Every year, Congress spends a king’s ransom of $17 billion on border and immigration enforcement, more than the annual gross domestic product, or GDP, of 80 countries. This money is spent in a Sisyphean—and ultimately self-defeating—effort to identify and deport the 11.7 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. However, the vast majority of these immigrants have been living here for more than a decade, are well settled into American life, and are significant contributors to the American economy. In recent years, these aggressive enforcement policies have attempted to conscript state and local police—so-called force multipliers—into service as de facto immigration agents.

One troubling program at the heart of this effort to deputize state and local cops as immigration agents requires local police to check the immigration status of anyone booked on a criminal charge. Under that program, known as Secure Communities, whenever the Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, identifies immigrants in local police custody who are potentially subject to deportation, DHS issues a “detainer,” or a request that the local cops hold the immigrant until DHS can take them into their custody.

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To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Katie Peters (economy, education, poverty, Half in Ten Education Fund, women's issues)
202.741.6285 or kpeters@americanprogress.org

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, health care, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention, the National Security Agency)
202.481.7141 or tcaiazza@americanprogress.org

Print: Chelsea Kiene (energy and environment, Legal Progress, higher education)
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi
202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogress.org

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or rrosen@americanprogress.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

 

This is part of a regular column: Idea of the Day

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