LOS ANGELES (KABC) – In a rare agreement with Sheriff Alex Villanueva on Tuesday, the Los Angeles District Regulatory Authority voted to permanently ban working with federal immigration officials who lack a warrant for inmates released from the county jail.
Regulators Hilda Solis and Sheila Kuehl jointly drafted the motion and asked their colleagues to prohibit the use of any kind of county resources to bring people without a warrant into the custody of US immigration and customs. The board vote makes a moratorium on cooperation that Villanueva put in place in April in response to the COVID-19 crisis permanent.
"The time is right to end this prison-to-deportation pipeline," said Solis. It is worrying to hear about unsanitary conditions in prisons as ICE cannot protect inmates from COVID-19 and many die after exposure to the virus while in ICE detention.
"We have also heard of horror stories about problematic requests from ICE detainees demanding the detention of immigrants for no due process or probable reason …" she said. We have a moral and constitutional obligation to stop the transfer of people to ICE custody during this pandemic and long after it is over. & # 39; & # 39;
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Kuehl said it made sense to make the ban a matter of county policy that would survive the pandemic and Villanueva's tenure.
"This motion ensures that ICE must produce arrest warrants signed by a judge if they want to release people from prison, and strengthens the sheriff's decision to introduce a moratorium on ICE transfers without a judicial warrant," said Kuehl. This adds an extra level of control to the process. We want to limit a sheriff's cooperation with ICE to what is required by law, and this helps keep our policies airtight. & # 39; & # 39;
Although Villanueva finalized its moratorium on cooperation in April last month, without the actions of the Board of Directors it could only be enforced during his tenure. Before the vote, the sheriff called the motion "a very good step forward".
He also pointed out that the county needs to address the need for the ministry to work with ICE on U-Visa for crime victims to help with law enforcement.
Activists cheered the action.
"This is really historic: The largest county in the country, which set a terrible precedent by being among the first jurisdictions to adopt the federal government's devastating deportation programs, is now leading the way by ending ICE transfers altogether without a judicial warrant." "said Hector Villagra, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Southern California:" It is testament to the tenacity and tenacity of the immigrant community to fight for the protection of their rights for a decade and a half.
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Several union leaders said immigrants 'rights are workers' rights.
"With Labor Day approaching, the historic move by the Board of Directors to end ICE transfers without a judicial warrant not only promotes the rights of all immigrants, but also the rights of immigrants," said UNITE-HERE Local 11 Co-President Ada Briceno.
A U.S. Army veteran deported twice after serving in his country said that many other veterans mistakenly believed they obtained citizenship through military service.
"After the service I had problems adapting. I ended up in jail," Hector Barajas told the board. "After spending about three years in prison, instead of going back to my family, I was turned over to immigrate." At that time I was still a green card holder and not a US citizen. I didn't naturalize because I didn't have any information about the trial or any help from the military or anywhere else. I spent a year in immigration custody without a lawyer and was deported. & # 39; & # 39;
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