L.A. County Supervisors Extend Controversial ICE Program for Jails
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has extended a controversial program aimed at identifying convicted criminals who reside in the country illegally.
The program, known as 287(g), has been in place since 2005 and allows county jail inmates to be screened for potential illegal status. The process is either conducted by federal immigration officials placed within the jails or by deputies who receive training from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Once identified, an undocumented immigrant who has been convicted of a crime can be flagged for deportation proceedings.
Tuesday’s vote was 3-0, with Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Zev Yaroslavsky abstaining. It followed intense discussion and heated protests by those who deem it to be an example of racial profiling.
Supervisor Gloria Molina was considered the swing vote, which earned her ire on the part of demonstrators. “Molina deports! Molina deports!” protestors shouted at the meeting.
Molina said the new agreement, which will run through 2016, represents a vast improvement over the last one. Its intention, she added, is not to target petty criminals, but rather those who pose a serious threat to the public.
"We are not here picking up people who are selling lollipops," Molina insisted. "We are trying to find a way to make L.A. County safe."
Los Angeles has bucked the trend in choosing to extend the partnership. In recent years, the number of participating jurisdictions had dropped from 75 to 35 nationwide, and the only other jurisdiction in California which still participates is Orange County.
Read more about Tuesday’s vote here.