Ammiano bill would allow opt out of illegal immigration program 

The California Department of Justice would be required to rework a contract with federal officials over the controversial Secure Communities fingerprinting program if a bill from San Francisco’s Assemblyman Tom Ammiano passes.

Through the program, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has identified thousands of illegal immigrants nationwide through fingerprints taken after they have been jailed for a crime. While many of those identified have committed serious felonies, others have been cleared of crimes and yet deported nonetheless.

Law enforcement officials such as Sheriff Michael Hennessey and District Attorney George Gascón have come out against the program. Some say it impedes crime fighting because illegal immigrants are less likely to come forward as witnesses or to report crimes.

Ammiano’s bill would require changes in the contract to exclude every county in the state unless they opted in to the program.

Attorney General Kamala Harris has yet to make a statement about the program.

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Brent Begin

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