Immigration agents will be allowed back into the detention facilities in Los Angeles to find potentially dangerous undocumented immigrants to deport, the Los Angeles County sheriff has confirmed. Sheriff Jim McDonnell outlined his decision on Tuesday in a letter sent to the US Board of Supervisors, which decided in May to end the agreement to allow agents into jails.
McDonnell’s plan to work with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) comes in the wake of growing debate about the federal program to find and deport undocumented immigrants who have been placed under arrest. In July controversial Republican nomination candidate Donald Trump criticized San Francisco’s decision to limit the assistance given by local authorities to immigration agents in the wake of the murder of a young woman by an immigrant who had already been deported from the United States on no less than five separate occasions. Immigrants’ rights groups claim, however, that the partnership between local and law enforcement and ICE has resulted in families being separated unnecessarily and has caused an erosion of trust in the police in the community.
McDonnell says in his letter that he will cooperate with ICE to the extent allowed by the Trust Act, which is part of California law, and that his department will allow the agency to access its jails database and provide notification to agents up to a week before an inmate is due to be released.