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LA Sheriff Pushes for Expansion of Program to Identify Illegal Immigrants (Corrected) « The Washington Independent

Correction: This post initially stated that the program in question was Secure Communities, which runs fingerprints obtained by local law enforcements through federal immigration databases. In fact, the program is 287(g), which allows local law enforcement to take on some immigration enforcement duties. The Los Angeles Times report did not name the program, and I initially and incorrectly assumed that it was the same program — Secure Communities — that was mentioned in a similar Los Angeles Times story last year. A source at Immigration and Customs Enforcement pointed out my error. We regret the confusion.

The head law enforcement officer in Los Angeles County hopes to step up his department’s involvement in the 287(g) program, which allows local law enforcement to take on some immigration enforcement duties, the Los Angeles Times reports. LA was one of the first counties to enter the program, and has referred 11,000 people to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to the Times. Of course, that doesn’t mean they were all deported: ICE reported it removed 5,585 illegal immigrants through LA County in its first year.

Sheriff Lee Baca put in a request to extend the program, which the LA County Board of Supervisors will consider Tuesday. In a memo, he said the program would be extended, but with “improved oversight, management, and communication within the program [and] enhanced supervision by ICE personnel along with additional training.”

LA prisons have a large number of illegal immigrants, according to law enforcement officials. In 2008, the sheriff’s department estimated one-fifth of the daily jail population was foreign born, and many of them would likely be eligible for deportation. But when the program started in 2009, ICE Chief John Morton said the agency would not be able to deport all of the illegal immigrants caught by the process. Instead, he said ICE would focus on illegal immigrants who had been convicted for violent crimes.

“The reality of the situation is that we don’t presently have the resources to respond to every single person,” Morton said. “We are focusing on the worst of the worst.”

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