LA County to end immigration agent partnership

USI - deportationThe leaders of Los Angeles County are set to put an end to a controversial scheme that sees federal immigration agents infiltrating county jails in a bid to find out which inmates can be deported from the United States.

The Board of Supervisors will vote tomorrow on a motion to put an end to the program, which is referred to as 287(g). Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Hilda Solis sponsored the motion and another supervisor, Sheila Kuehl, is also likely to support it, given that she has previously made comments stating that the program should be shut down; however, supervisors Michael Antonovitch and Don Knabe have expressed their intention to oppose the motion.

The agreement with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement was entered into by the county ten years ago and not only saw immigration agents placed inside Twin Towers jail but also trained some employees of the jail to act as agents to determine whether inmates were staying in the United States illegally. The program’s supporters claim it is a useful tool to identify dangerous criminals who are eligible for deportation; however, opponents say it results in racial profiling and in immigrants with minor convictions facing deportation.

Many municipalities have pulled out of participating in the program in recent years, with Los Angeles and Orange the only Los Angeles counties still involved. Immigration advocates support the motion but remain suspicious of a clause calling for continued cooperation with ICE in local jails.