AB 1306, also known as the HOME Act, seeks to protect immigrants by preventing California prisons from handing them over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) upon their release. Continue reading to learn how the HOME Act would change existing laws regarding immigrants in the criminal justice system.
Existing Law’s Effects on Immigrants
Under existing California law, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is required to cooperate with the Department of Homeland Security by providing the use of prison facilities, transportation, and support for the purposes of conducting and expediting deportation hearings and holds on undocumented immigrants who are incarcerated in state prison. Furthermore, existing law requires the department to identify inmates serving terms in state prison who are undocumented immigrants subject to deportation.
Despite recent reforms to the criminal justice system, California prisons voluntarily and unnecessarily transfer immigrant and refugee community members eligible for release to ICE for deportation purposes. According to the author of AB 1306, this process subjects these communities to double punishment and further trauma. Immigrant communities can be incarcerated by ICE, often for prolonged periods and with no right to bail, and then deported.
HOME Act Would Protect Convicted Immigrant Upon Release
The HOME Act aims to protect these vulnerable immigrant populations. Specifically, the bill would prohibit the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from detaining on the basis of a hold request, providing an immigration authority with release date information, or transferring to an immigration authority any individual who is eligible for release pursuant to specified provisions. These provisions include:
- People eligible for early parole after serving a specified time because they were youth offenders
- People eligible for compassionate release or parole because they are elderly or suffering severe medical conditions
- People eligible for release because they were convicted due to racial bias
- People whose crimes were a result of being victims of sexual assault or domestic violence
- People eligible for resentencing because they were convicted under the felony murder rule
Will the Bill Pass?
As of now, it is unclear whether AB 1306 will pass. A similar bill, the VISION Act, was narrowly struck down in the state Legislature last August. However, the HOME Act is more targeted than the VISION Act because rather than blocking all transfers to ICE, it would only block transfers of noncitizens who have been granted clemency by the governor or have been released due to one of the criminal justice reform laws recently enacted in the state of California. Police groups, as well as the Republican Party, opposed the VISION Act in the last legislative session. A spokesperson stated that ICE does not comment on pending legislation. If the bill does pass, it would signal a significant reform for the criminal justice system and its stance towards undocumented immigrants.
Contact Wallin & Klarich Today
If you have been subject to deportation in California upon release from incarceration, contact Wallin & Klarich as soon as possible to see how we can help. At Wallin & Klarich, we are always up to date on the latest developments so that we can assist you more effectively. With 40+ years of experience, our attorneys have helped thousands of clients in a wide range of cases, and we have the skills and resources to help you too.
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