"Secure Communities" Pushes L.A. to the Brink

Immigration/local police collaboration program fosters distrust, lets criminals off the hook and deports families

By LatinoLA Contributor
Published on LatinoLA: February 22, 2012

"Secure Communities" Pushes L.A. to the Brink

This week, the County of Los Angeles witnessed the gathering of hundreds of Dream students, household workers, and day laborers all working for common goals that include fair wage laws, end to hate-speech, immigration reform, the federal Dream Act, and the end to police-immigration collaboration programs such as "Secure Communities" (S-Comm). On Tuesday, ACLU of Southern California, NDLON, and CHIRLA met Sheriff Baca in court where he was rebuffed for his latest procedural attempt to hide documents about his department's extensive collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), especially in the implementation of the wrongly-labeled "Secure Communities" program.

On Wednesday, hundreds marched from the Hahn Building downtown Los Angeles to the federal building to demand Sheriff Baca help restore trust in law enforcement. The rallying cry: "Stop the Arizonification of Los Angeles: End S-Comm".

The following is a statement from Angelica Salas, executive director for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA).

"The writing is on the wall for Sheriff Baca and those who support his enthusiastic position to deport thousands upon thousands of honest, hard-working immigrants without a criminal background. S-Comm is a dark spot in a tolerant, multicultural city like Los Angeles and persecution of immigrant families must not be tolerated.

The Sheriff should heed the clear and loud warnings. On Tuesday, LA County Supervisors had to formally apologize for the thousands of Mexican-Americans deported from the United States between 1929 and 1944. Just like now, thousands upon thousands of hard-working families were deported, although sixty percent of them were American citizens.

In a tentative ruling on Tuesday, Los Angeles Superior Court James C. Chalfant rebuffed Sheriff Lee Baca's latest procedural attempt to hide documents about his department's extensive collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In ruling that ICE is not an indispensable or necessary to the lawsuit, Sheriff Baca did not even bother to ask ICE, the public's right to know is that much closer to being realized.

On Wednesday evening, February 22, CHIRLA will join its allies in marching on Sheriff Baca and ICE, demanding that the bright line be redrawn between local police and immigration enforcement. Unlike Sheriff Baca's claims about ICE and the lawsuit, this is necessary to restore trust between the community and the police meant to protect and serve it. We will be calling on Governor Brown to support the TRUST Act, legislation that will grant counties and jurisdictions with discretion to impose or not immigration quotas on local police departments. The rally begins at 5 p.m. followed by a march and a rally ending at 7 p.m. in front of the federal building."

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