For Immediate Release // Excuse Cross Postings
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
REACTION: L.A. Sheriff Reverses Course on Jail Deportations
Los Angeles, CA - In response to the newly released draft Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Report Back Regarding the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP), Pablo Alvarado, Director for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), issued the following statement:
“It appears the ‘Trump Effect’ is now having an impact on Los Angeles County policy. The L.A. Sheriff today issued a draft policy that appears politically motivated and impacted by sensationalized tragedy, and it reaches far beyond that which was requested by the Board of Supervisors. It is a policy that entangles local criminal law enforcement with the enforcement of outdated, unjust civil immigration laws. Unless modified, the policy will result in senseless deportations, potential civil rights violations, and eroded public safety for all Angelenos.
Earlier this year, following strong advocacy and legal challenges, the L.A. Board of Supervisors rejected ICE’s disgraced 287(g) program. It closed ICE’s permanent office inside the jail, and sought a ‘wait and see’ policy with regard to DHS’s new Priority Enforcement Program (PEPCOMM).
Today, undoing some important advances made to regain the trust of L.A.’s diverse community, the Sheriff appears to invite ICE back into the jails, and he risks further exposing the county to liability resulting from abusive immigration enforcement. Contrary to the motion of the Board of Supervisors and the spirit of the Trust Act, the Sheriff’s newly-announced policy allows ICE agents back into the jails. The Sheriff’s new policy goes well beyond even what ICE is proposing across the nation.
Particularly without meaningful opportunities for community input, the Sheriff’s new policy risks further erosion of trust between immigrant communities and law enforcement. Given ICE’s lack of accountability to the Los Angeles community, and the Sheriff Department’s lack of commitment to genuine engagement, it is essential that any new policy or MOU be subject to democratic oversight by the Board of Supervisors.
The TRUST Act must be a floor and not a ceiling for the protections to immigrants. The list of crimes which would allow ICE access to detainees should be limited and accompanied by a statute of limitations for convictions. In recent months, ICE agents have touted ‘record-setting’ raids in Southern California, removing immigrants from their homes and families, despite their often having lived in the United States for decades, and often citing as justification minor crimes committed years, if not decades, prior. This cannot be considered a humane immigration policy. But the Sheriff’s draft policy today effectively endorses such actions.
The Sheriff cannot be authorized to turn over L.A. community members to the control of ICE merely due to the misfortune of their having wound up in a county detention facility. The L.A. Sheriff was tasked to disentangle criminal and civil law enforcement, and instead further entrenched this entanglement. ICE does not belong in LA’s jails.
The Trump Effect, increasingly sweeping through the country, cannot be allowed to scapegoat immigrant communities in Los Angeles.”