Activist immigration groups are firing racial profiling allegations against Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell over a program billed as a balance between public safety and the “immigrant community” that allows U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to screen specified jail inmates.
Illegal alien activists have hurled accusations of potential racial profiling against the newly installed Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) and its administrators.
McDonnell defended the program to NBC 4, “None of us want somebody released back into the community who’s going to continue to reoffend with violent crimes or serious crimes. We want to be able to use all the tools available to us to deal with that.”
“ICE is not roaming the jails as some have put forward. There is a strict protocol in place that has to be met before ICE can interview an inmate,” McDonnell said.
McDonnell appeared with U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker, Central District of California in a press conference on Monday. NBC 4 noted that their offices are working together on a campaign to combat violent crime in the L.A. area city of Compton.
The sheriff went on to criticize passage of legislation AB 109, which enabled early release of “non-violent” inmates. He blamed that law and voter-passed Proposition 47 for an increasing trend in California crime. Prop 47 demoted the majority of felony drug crimes to misdemeanors.
The Sheriff’s Department released Q&A describing the department’s policies regarding PEP and illegal immigrant inmates. Concern #9 reads, “During the ICE screening process, Agents will racially profile inmates and will only talk to inmates who look like they are in the United States illegally.” The “FACT” response reads:
The ICE screening process of inmates in the release area and in the County Jails consists of computerized database screening and is not race-based. ICE Agents screen all inmates scheduled for release. ICE determines if an individual has a high likelihood of being in the United States illegally. Once that initial screening is concluded, Agents will determine if the inmate meets a PEP priority category and has a qualified conviction under the California Trust Act. The Department will then verify that the inmate’s conviction is listed in the Trust Act. Only after all of the above steps are completed can an ICE interview occur, followed by the possibility of an ICE detainer. These procedures are more limiting than the net cast by the PEP and ensure that enforcement of the PEP is consistent with California State law.
Concern #7 reads, “The Sheriff’s Department will hold individuals beyond their date of release if ICE makes a request to detain them for possible deportation.” However, as in the case of confessed killer of Kate Steinle before his release, the department makes no promise to honor ICE detainer requests. “No individual will be detained beyond his or her date of release regardless of whether or not there is a valid ICE detainer.”
Concern #1 reads, “The public’s input was not considered in the development of the Sheriff’s policies.” The response briefly details three public meetings held between which approximately 375 people attended, 90 gave input and included: DHS (Department of Homeland Security), ICE, neighboring Sheriff’s Departments, LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department), ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), National Immigration Law Center, The Remembrance Project and the Jamiel’s Law Organization.
President Barack Obama announced introduction of the PEP program last November along with his executive action giving effective amnesty to millions of illegally present foreign nationals.
Controversy over replacing the 287(g) program with PEP rocked an L.A. County Board of Supervisors meeting in May, as Breitbart News reported at the time.
Jamiel Shaw, the father of a young man shot and killed by a repeat violent offender illegal alien, spoke out at the May B.O.S. meeting. A known gang had member killed Shaw’s son just 28 hours after the offender’s release from an L.A. County jail. He had left the jail with the intention of killing a black person.
“When you say this is a victimless crime, it is not,” Shaw said regarding illegal immigration. “We are Americans, we deserve the American dream…you don’t work for illegal aliens, you work for Americans.”
Sheriff McDonnell said Monday that the PEP program complies with the California Trust Act. The Trust Act effectively prohibits immigration officials from interviewing inmates jailed for lower-level offenses, or having them detained for possible deportation.
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