by Jennefer Canales, NLG Chapter Secretary, Southwestern Law School
On September 22, 2015, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell published his plan to implement ICE’s Priority Enforcement Program, or “PEP,” which would allow ICE agents into Los Angeles County jails to place inmates into deportation proceedings. The ICE Out of LA Coalition (Facebook link here) has been calling for a disentanglement of local criminal law enforcement and federal civil immigration enforcement.
On September 29th, we anticipated the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department would present their proposal for PEP to the Board of Supervisors. However, at the September 29th meeting, the Sheriff did not show up and the only items on the agenda were budget items. The Coalition is pushing to force the Board of Supervisors to have the Sheriff come in to present, and then implement, some sort of oversight process, as the Board of Supervisors had with its 287 (g) agreement with ICE. Under the 287 (g) program, the Sheriff had to report to the Supervisors every few months. We want something similar to happen with PEP but, as of now, it appears the “fact sheet” may well be the most we will get from the Sheriff’s Department. At the September 29th meeting, public comment did not occur until 3:30pm. Anti-immigrants were present and spewed their usual hateful messages. The Coalition had a chance to comment but the Supervisors were unresponsive.
The Sheriff has not only implemented the program, he gave ICE even more than what the PEP asks for, providing excessive access to inmates and databases to facilitate deportations: CLICK HERE TO VIEW SHERIFF'S MEMO
The Sheriffs responded to criticism of the program with a "fact sheet." We have responded to this "fact" sheet: CLICK HERE FOR OUR "FACT SHEET" RESPONSE
Since PEP has been implemented in Los Angeles, the Coalition will be submitting FOIA requests to determine exactly how much the Department of Homeland Security influenced the Sheriff’s Department. We will also submit FOIA requests to ICE and PRA requests to the Sheriff’s Department to determine who influenced the PEP policy. With this information we hope to further question and the Board of Supervisors on PEP.
Former Chapter president, Victor Narro, has written an excellent article detailing the recent history of the entanglement between local criminal law enforcement and federal civil immigration enforcement, “Should LA County’s Sheriff Stop Helping Deport Undocumented Angelenos?”, published by LA Progressive. His article puts the debate over PEP in the context of a broader struggle to end local law enforcement collaboration with ICE.
To get involved with the ICE Out of LA Coalition please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.