California calls to pull out of immigration security program

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California calls to pull out of immigration security program
Los Angeles, CA (BDCi) — Seven California congressional members are calling on Governor Jerry Brown to discontinue the state’s involvement in the Secure Communities Immigration Enforcement Program.

The letter to Governor Brown is on the heels of several similar movements of late. In terms of states, Massachusetts is the most recent state to opt out of the program, along with New York and Illinois.
Statewide, a California bill is making its way through the legislature that will make it possible for counties to opt out of the program which requires fingerprints of arrestees from local jails to be shared with Immigration and Customs Enforcement for screening.

Earlier this week the city of Los Angeles unanimously voted to support this legislation, any legislation that will make it possible for communities to choose not to comply with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program which many feel is causing a lack of trust between police and the undocumented community

The initial purpose of the program was to target the more serious criminals and deport them. But some of these held detainees either have not been convicted of crimes or are considered low-level-defenders making this program a controversial one and one with conflicting views even amongst the statewide Sheriff leadership.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca supports Secure Communities. He compares it to another collaboration with ICE called 287g, which trains deputies to identify possible undocumented inmates and has resulted in the deportation of 20,000 criminal individuals in the past 5 years.

However Baca’s San Francisco counterpart Mike Hennessey has a different take. “When you get local cops involved in enforcing immigration,” he says, “it interferes with the trust that they have with the immigrant communities that they serve, it leads to people not reporting crimes, it leads to people refusing to be witnesses because they’re afraid they’re going to be deported if they go talk to the local cops.”
Democrat representatives Judy Chu, Linda Sanchez, Maxine Waters, Grace Napolitano, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Karen Bass and Xavier Becerra, the organizer, signed the letter which asks the governor to suspend the state’s participation in the Secure Communities program until further investigation is performed on the effects of the program on the reporting of crime by victims and witnesses within immigrant communities.

By Shayla Selva
Source: Los Angeles Times, NPR-KPCC
10 June 2011

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