Los Angeles, CA – Immigrant rights organizations staged a press conference here July 12, to demand that Sheriff Lee Baca stop cooperating with the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) ‘Secure Communities’ program. The Secure Communities program has resulted in the repression of thousands of immigrants. The press conference was organized by the National Day Labors Organizing Network. Participants included representatives from CARCEN Day Labor Center, ACLU, Pomona Day Labor Center, Southern California Immigration Coalition (SCIC) and CHIRLA.
Pablo Alvarado, with National Day Labors Organizing Network, said the L.A. County jail under Sheriff Baca deports more people per year than Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Alvarado also said that when President Obama was looking to push Secure Communities, he wanted Sheriff Baca’s support, because Los Angeles is trend-setting city.
Carlos Montes spoke on behalf of the Southern California Immigration Coalition, demanding that Sheriff Baca stop collaborating with ICE and that Baca support the Trust Act legislation. The Trust Act, which already passed in the California Senate, allows local police to not honor ICE detainer requests. This would prevent the deportation of thousands of mostly Mexican immigrants.
Montes also stated that SCIC has been organizing against the police department’s car checkpoints and car impounds, and in support of street vendors. “The police/ICE collaboration causes the detention and deportation of immigrants for minor infractions like traffic violations or street vending, not serious crimes. Many of these police actions are in poor Mexican/Chicano and Black communities – which led to more racial profiling. This leads to distrust of local police for fear of detention and deportation and separation from families,” says Montes.