A recent survey of California deportations showed a dramatic drop in immigration detentions – a decrease of as much as 58 percent in one county – since that state adopted the TRUST Act in January. The TRUST (“Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tools”) Act bars police from detaining an immigrant for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unless the immigrant has been convicted of certain serious or violent felonies.

Under the federal Secure Communities program, ICE can request that state and local police hold immigrants in custody for 48 hours while ICE decides whether to deport them and place them in immigration detention.

According to the survey conducted by the Associated Press, in 15 of the largest counties that responded to the survey, there was a 44 percent decrease in ICE holds, from a total of roughly 3,000 holds to 1,660. Those figures included four of the five largest counties – Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego. Detentions in Los Angeles, which saw the most cases, fell 28 percent from last year to the first two months of this year. San Diego, handling the second most immigration detentions, dropped 58 percent from 426 holds to 180. San Francisco, which passed an even more restrictive law than the TRUST Act, saw detentions nosedive 93 percent.

Before the TRUST Act, California represented one-third of all deportations nationwide.

BAL Analysis: The initial figures showing a marked decrease in immigration holds under the TRUST Act, except in cases of serious felonies, suggest that a substantial number of deportations were triggered against individuals who were not convicted of serious crimes.

Copyright © 2016 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact copyright@bal.com.