House Bill 5543 presents the Connecticut General Assembly with a chance to stand up for justice, equality, safety, and community by limiting the state's unnecessary participation in the federal government's deportation program. By strengthening Connecticut's TRUST Act to prohibit state and local law enforcement from serving federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers without a valid federal judicial warrant, this bill focuses local law enforcement on local priorities, not the federal government's deportation agenda.
This proposal has the Constitution on its side. Multiple courts have ruled against the federal government’s attempts to force local and state governments to serve its deportation goals. Furthermore, this bill’s prohibition on allowing state and local law enforcement from serving ICE detainers without a valid federal judicial warrant also reflects the law. ICE detainer requests are just that: requests. They do not carry the weight of a warrant, and they provide no legal obligation or even justification for local law enforcement to detain, arrest, or jail someone.
This bill also has the public interest on its side. When local and state police use their time and resources to help the federal government with arresting, detaining, and deporting Connecticut community members, they are unnecessarily undermining trust in Connecticut's justice system and jeopardizing health and safety.