Public Service Announcement: What is the TRUTH and How Does It Affect You?

Taylor Talcott, Staff Writer

As of January 1st, 2017,
California legislature enacted the
Transparent Review of Unjust
Transfers and Holds (TRUTH) Act
as signed into law by Governor
Brown on September 28th, 2016.
The TRUTH Act is a right afforded
to every immigrant in California
who is or may be imprisoned in
a local jail. Its main purpose is to
provide immigrants their basic
rights while in jail, but it is woefully
unknown by many people,
especially those who need it the
most. The basic premise of the bill
is to protect imprisoned immigrants
from Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (ICE) and unlawful
deportation. As there continue to be
harsh immigration measures under
the Trump Administration, it is increasingly
important for everyone
to know their basic rights.
As with any detainment by
the police, immigrants reserve the
right to remain silent at all times.
Whatever information is shared
will be lawfully used in prosecution
as well as possibly shared
with ICE officials. In order to
best protect oneself, make sure to
never disclose citizenship, immigration
status, nationality, or the
circumstances under which one is
in the United States. No immigration
official nor police officer has
the right to this information, so it
is completely lawful to keep that
information undisclosed as the
right to remain silent is not a new
one awarded by the TRUTH Act.
It may be helpful to have an attorney
present, and it is also lawful to
request an attorney to better protect
one’s rights.
Should ICE request an
interview from local law enforcement,
the agency is required to
notify the incarcerated of their
request and to provide a written
consent form disclosing the purpose
and non-compulsory nature
of the interview. The consent form
must also be translated into many
languages to better aid the comprehension
of the accused. The
interview is completely voluntary,
and should one desire to opt out, it
is lawful to do so using the written
consent form. If for any reason ICE
attempts an interview, especially
without consent, one still maintains
the right to remain silent. Additionally,
it is permitted to request one’s
attorney to be present or even to
hire an immigration attorney at
one’s own expense.
The TRUTH Act requires
that local legal services notify and
supply copies of any and all ICE
detainments of the incarcerated.
This means that if ICE requests
that one be held for extra time,
one must be notified in a timely
and proper manner. However, it
is actually unlawful for a prisoner
to be held for extra time solely
on the grounds of opportunity for
deportation. Should one be held
by ICE without probable cause as
given by a judge, the law enforcement
agency can be sued and have
to pay compensation. This section
of the bill also requires that one be
briefed if ICE sends a notification
request to the local jail, asking for
the date and time of a detainee’s
release. If the law agency yields
to the request, the attorney and the
incarcerated must be notified in
writing. This allows the attorney to
prepare his case against ICE.
If local law enforcement
discloses any information to ICE,
all related records are subject to the
Public Records Act, meaning it is
any individual’s right to access the
information. The law enforcement
agency must also host a forum
which notifies the community of
any information and peoples who
have been yielded to ICE. This sets
a system of accountability which
will further enforce the TRUTH
Act. Since all the information is
public knowledge, the community
gains control of the lawfulness of
the proceedings and can see to it
that all processes are followed accordingly.