National Immigration Law Center Denounces L.A. County Sheriff’s Immigration Enforcement Plan

September 23, 2015

Alec Saslow, [email protected], 720-319-4948
Nery Espinosa, [email protected], 214-263-1294

National Immigration Law Center Denounces L.A. County Sheriff’s Immigration Enforcement Plan

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles County sheriff announced Tuesday his newest plan to further entangle the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE’s) harsh deportation policies. The sheriff’s proposal would allow ICE full access into the jails despite a May 2015 Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors vote to close ICE’s permanent office inside the jail. By exceeding the current limitations and parameters of the new federal Priority Enforcement Program (PEP), this proposal invites even more racial profiling and would funnel more members of Southern California families through ICE’s deportation pipeline.

Shiu-Ming Cheer, an attorney with the National Immigration Law Center, said the following in response to the sheriff’s announcement:

“The L.A. County sheriff’s proposed policies are poised to further undermine years of community trust built between the immigrant community and local law enforcement. Not only has the Sheriff’s Department fully endorsed the flawed Priority Enforcement Program, it has in fact doubled down and far exceeded the policies and practices put forth in PEP.

“California has been a national leader on implementing commonsense policies that strike a thoughtful balance between protecting community trust and ensuring public safety. On the same day that San Francisco Supervisor David Campos announced plans to introduce a resolution calling on the San Francisco sheriff to refuse cooperation with ICE’s Priority Enforcement Program, L.A. County is promoting reactionary policies that criminalize our communities and jeopardize basic due process protections.”

In addition to its concerns about the lack of transparency and confusion around the rollout of PEP, the National Immigration Law Center also is concerned about these other provisions of the L.A. County sheriff’s proposal:

  • allowing ICE full access to jails and databases so it can conduct investigations and interviews of people who may be removable;
  • refusing to limit who ICE can interview based on how old their prior convictions are, so that even decades-old convictions would trigger an ICE interview; and
  • failing to require that everyone who is interviewed by ICE knowingly and voluntarily consents to the interview by signing an advisal-of-rights form before he or she is made available to ICE.

More than 300 jurisdictions nationwide have either seriously limited or outright rejected local law enforcement entanglement with ICE. Law enforcement authorities and community members consistently say that such cooperation results in damaging community members’ confidence and trust in local authorities, wasting already scarce resources, and devastating families and communities.

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