A Bill to Stop Some Prison-to-ICE Transfers Heads to Newsom’s Desk

“Last year’s bill was far more expansive than I could support due to public safety concerns,” Eggman told KQED. “This year’s bill is a more measured approach that protects immigrants and helps keep families together without putting public safety at risk.”

ICE officials say the agency does not comment on pending legislation.

The Peace Officers Research Association of California opposed the broader VISION Act last year, but chose not to take a position on the HOME Act.

On average, nearly 1,600 people come out of state prison each year with an immigration detainer that leads to their transfer to ICE to be deported, according to an estimate by state Senate staff.

The HOME Act would bar prisons from handing over noncitizens to ICE who are being released as a result of several criminal justice reforms signed by Gov. Newsom or his predecessor, Jerry Brown. They include:

  • People eligible for compassionate release or parole because they are older or suffering severe medical conditions.
  • People eligible for early parole after serving a set amount of time because their crimes were committed in their youth.
  • People whose crimes were a direct result of having been victims of sexual assault or domestic violence.
  • People eligible for release because they demonstrate that racial bias affected their case.
  • People eligible for resentencing because they were originally convicted under the felony murder rule but did not kill anyone.

The bill would also protect people whose sentences were commuted by the governor. And, where the unsuccessful VISION Act also would have banned transfers from local jails to ICE, the HOME Act only focuses on restricting transfers by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, or CDCR.

In coming weeks, advocates plan to press Newsom to support the bill, and Chan noted that it passed both the Senate and Assembly with veto-proof supermajorities.

“We are going to hold his feet to the fire and make sure that we strongly encourage him to sign the HOME Act into law,” she said. “He certainly hasn’t said anything yet, so we’re reading the tea leaves. But we’re pretty hopeful because the bills have passed the legislature with no opposition.”

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