Assembly Joint Resolution No. 1

Introduced by Assembly Members Kalra, Chiu, Cristina Garcia, Lorena Gonzalez, and Santiago
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Carrillo, Gipson, Kamlager, Lee, Luz Rivas, Ting, and Wicks)
(Coauthors: Senators McGuire, Skinner, and Wiener)

December 07, 2020

Relative to immigration.


AJR 1, as amended, Kalra. Abolition of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

This measure would urge the federal government to abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement within the Department of Homeland Security, and implement an orderly and just transfer of essential and basic legally required functions in a manner that upholds values of due process, equality under the law, and family unity.

Fiscal Committee: no

WHEREAS, In response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the United States Congress passed the Homeland Security Act, which abolished the Immigration and Naturalization Service and replaced it with the Department of Homeland Security, which included the establishment of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, now known as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE; and

WHEREAS, According to the ICE website, “Congress granted ICE a unique combination of civil and criminal authorities to better protect national security and public safety in answer to the tragic events on 9/11. Leveraging those authorities, ICE’s primary mission is to promote homeland security and public safety through the criminal and civil enforcement of federal laws governing border control, customs, trade and immigration”; and

WHEREAS, Even prior to the election of Donald Trump as President in 2016, ICE has had a troubled history, which has been criticized by both sides of the political spectrum, and has been mired in controversy by using its funding to detain immigrants in egregiously inhumane conditions and deport immigrants with little to no due process or consideration for their familial and community ties to the United States; and

WHEREAS, On January 25, 2017, Donald Trump signed Executive Order No. 13768, entitled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,” which expanded ICE’s activities to terrorize immigrants through inhumane detention, isolation, and abuse; and

WHEREAS, ICE has long had a culture of abuse and has been referred to as an unaccountable agency that has treated detained individuals, including children, inhumanely, bordering on crimes against humanity; and

WHEREAS, In December 2017, the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General issued a report categorizing violations of compliance with ICE detention standards regarding conditions for detainees “that undermine [their] protections, rights, humane treatment, and provisions of safe and healthy environments”; and

WHEREAS, In June 2018, the Office of the Inspector General issued another report titled “ICE’s Inspections and Monitoring of Detention Facilities Do Not Lead to Sustained Compliance or Systematic Improvements” where the department found that ICE did not follow up on identified deficiencies or hold facilities accountable for correcting them; and

WHEREAS, Due to lax federal oversight, ICE has routinely engaged in deceptive practices which mislead the public, such as posing as local law enforcement despite not being trained or deputized as police officers and misrepresenting administrative warrants as judicial warrants, and pressuring local and state law enforcement to violate due process rights by holding and transferring people who are being released to ICE; and

WHEREAS, ICE’s controversial program for checking every fingerprint taken by local and state law enforcement for immigration enforcement purposes was launched as the Secure Communities program (“S-Comm”), rebranded as the Priority Enforcement Program (“PEP”), continues to generate thousands of ICE detainer requests to local law enforcement and our state prison system annually, and turns every local arrest into a potential funnel into immigration detention and deportation; and

WHEREAS, In collaboration with other federal agencies, ICE has used deportation or the threat of deportation as a tool to pressure immigrants, especially those of Arab, Middle Eastern, and South Asian descent, to spy against their own communities for the United States government; and

WHEREAS, Most egregiously, ICE has separated children from their families upon detention and to date thousands of children have been removed from their parents for no reason other than to implement a “zero-tolerance” policy to criminally prosecute every adult who has entered the country without legal status, even though these parents are simply seeking a better life for themselves and their families; and

WHEREAS, ICE has also failed miserably in controlling and treating the spread of COVID-19 in detention facilities, including youth detention facilities, resulting in hundreds of detained adults and children contracting the virus and reports documenting that in some cases little to no medical care is provided; and

WHEREAS, The United States House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security hosted a panel on September 21, 2020, entitled “ICE Detention Facilities: Failing to Meet Basic Standards of Care,” which found that ICE’s detention facilities failed to identify and correct deficient conditions, and concluded that ICE does not do enough to ensure that its own standards of confinement are met; and

WHEREAS, ICE has consistently and continuously demonstrated an inability to fulfill its duties without violating due process, human rights, transparency, or public accountability, and fails to adhere to domestic and international law; and

WHEREAS, The United States of America does not need an opaque and rogue agency operating in our communities, dehumanizing our  immigrant communities, and acting without  consequence. California, being home to the largest and most diverse immigrant communities in the nation, has enacted policies to protect immigrants and refugees from the inhumane treatment and aggressive tactics of ICE, but there are still countless stories of brutal detentions and unjust deportations; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Assembly and the Senate of the State of California, jointly, That the Legislature calls upon the 117th United States Congress to abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and be it further

RESOLVED, That on or before the abolition of ICE, Congress should implement an orderly and just transfer of essential and basic legally required functions in a manner that upholds values of due process, equality under the law, and family unity; and be it further

Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United States, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to the Majority Leader of the Senate, and to each Senator and Representative from California in the Congress of the United States.