Motion Passed by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors Enshrines as County Policy a Recently Enacted Sheriff’s Internal Policy, to Strengthen Protections for Immigrants
LOS ANGELES — A coalition of civil rights, human rights and labor organizations today celebrate Supervisor Hilda Solis and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors’ approval of a motion to end transfers of people in the custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) to immigration authorities, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, absent a judicial warrant.
This policy is a necessary layer of protection to safeguard immigrant Angelenos’ constitutional rights as well as the county’s finances. The move enshrines as county policy an internal LASD directive that Sheriff Alex Villanueva enacted in April on a temporary basis and made permanent under his administration at the beginning of August. This motion means that the ban on warrantless transfers to ICE and immigration agents will remain in force regardless of who is in charge at LASD. The coalition recently submitted a letter supporting the policy.
In 2005, LASD was the first agency to enact a 287(g) agreement that deputized local law enforcement as immigration agents, and it was an enthusiastic enforcer of Secure Communities and Priority Enforcement Program, two federal programs that criminalized immigrants. The vote today is a long overdue victory. The county is ensuring, once and for all, that our community members do not end up in the clutches of a rogue agency that disregards their civil and human rights.
“After fighting for 15 years to end collaboration between the County and ICE, our community can rejoice today,” said Angélica Salas, executive director for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), one of the organizations in the coalition. “Even at a time when the federal government actively targets them, their local government protects them and ensures they get the due process they deserve as human beings. Our community brought forward this initiative, and we worked for many years to make it a reality. We thank the supervisors who worked with us, and especially Supervisor Solis, for her leadership in clearing obstacles so this motion could pass.”
“This is truly historic: the nation’s largest county, which set a terrible precedent by being among the first jurisdictions to embrace the federal government’s devastating deportation programs, is now leading the way by ending ICE transfers altogether absent a judicial warrant,” said Hector Villagra, executive director of the ACLU of Southern California (ACLU SoCal). “It is a testament to the immigrant community’s perseverance and tenacity in fighting, for a decade and a half, to protect its rights.”
“With Labor Day approaching, the historic action the Board of Supervisors is taking to end ICE transfers without a judicial warrant is not just advancing the rights of all immigrants: it’s also protecting the rights of immigrant workers,” said Ada Briceño, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11.
“As we mourn the death of Dijon Kizzee, a Black man murdered by the Sheriff’s Department, we have to be even more vocal about demanding justice,” said Zack Mohamed of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI). “How many more lives have to be lost, how many more people have to be transferred to ICE? At BAJI, we know Black lives are caught at the intersection of being both Black and migrants. We see law enforcement police our communities disproportionately. ICE is at the forefront of that. We look forward to the day when transfers of migrants from L.A. County jails to ICE will end for good, and we envision a world where we are free from harm and injustice. It starts with you and I making this world a reality.”
“I thank Supervisor Hilda Solis and the Board of Supervisors for the leadership they showed in their vote today,” said Kent Mendoza of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, who after serving a juvenile sentence was transferred to ICE and nearly deported. “Five years ago, I could have been deported were it not for the fact that I got lucky and fell through the cracks. I got a second chance that people just don’t get now, and I was able to go home to my family and turn my life around. Now, the County has moved to protect our community, so that we don’t just rely on luck, and many more people have the chance I had.”
The members of the coalition that advocated for the motion include: CHIRLA; ACLU Foundation of Southern California (ACLU SoCal); Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI); Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC); Youth Justice Coalition (YJC); Black Lives Matter - Los Angeles (BLM-LA); Immigrant Defenders Law Center; Central American Resource Center (CARECEN-LA); National Lawyers Guild of Los Angeles (NLG-LA); National Immigration Law Center (NILC); California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC); Community Coalition; JusticeLA; UNITE-HERE Local 11; SEIU 721; SEIU USWW; United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA); UFCW Local 770; AFSCME Local 148, LA County Public Defenders Union; Homies Unidos; La Defenx; Dignity and Power Now; Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE); LA Voice; Homeboy Industries; A New Way of Life Reentry Project; National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON); Freedom for Immigrants; and many others.