"Far fewer immigrants arrested by California law enforcement are being turned over to federal authorities for deportation since a new state law went into effect in January.
The law was pushed by immigrant advocates and directs law enforcement agencies to more quickly release those without serious criminal records rather than hold them so federal officials can take them into custody for deportation proceedings.
Already, according to a review by The Associated Press, the new law appears to be having a big impact in slowing deportations at a time when President Barack Obama is looking to ease immigration enforcement policies nationwide and appease immigrant advocates who say his administration has been too tough.
Until now, California has accounted for a third of deportations under U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement's Secure Communities program, which screens the fingerprints of arrestees for potential immigration violations.
While it was expected the state law known as the Trust Act would reduce the number of people held for possible deportation, it wasn't clear how significant the drop would be.
Since sheriff's departments are responsible for most bookings, the AP surveyed those agencies in 23 counties responsible for most of California's deportations under the program.
Not all supplied data for the first two months of this year, but among the 15 that did, there was a 44 percent drop, from 2,984 people to 1,660. Those 15 counties included four of the five largest in the state — Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino." - AP Exclusive by Elliot Spagat and Amy Taxin, Apr. 6, 2014.