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Bill Allowing Communities To Opt Out Of Immigration Check Moves Forward

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(credit: VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

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SACRAMENTO (AP) — A bill to let California communities opt out of a federal government program that checks the immigration status of arrestees has been approved by the Assembly’s public safety committee.

The committee voted Tuesday to advance debate on whether to have local communities decide if they want to participate in the so-called Secure Communities program.

The proposal by Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano is supported by immigrant advocates and San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey who say immigrants shouldn’t fear getting deported when they report crime.

The state sheriffs’ association opposes the bill, citing the cost savings of a program that automatically checks arrestees’ immigration status.

Some California communities have wanted to opt out of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement program but have been unable to because it is not voluntary.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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