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Opinion

Readers React: Sheriff Villanueva, stay away from ICE. State law requires it

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L.A. County Sheriff’s deputies move inmates through the custody line area at the Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles on May 13.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The “minute details of sheriff-ICE interaction” may be trivial to the L.A. Times Editorial Board, but they are of primary importance — even life changing — for families in Los Angeles County waiting to reunite with their fathers, mothers and children who have served their time and whom the state has deemed fit to reintegrate.

In those “minute details,” the sheriff and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have found loopholes to undermine the law. A transfer to a private contractor on behalf of ICE is a transfer to ICE, period. In fact, the use of ICE contractors violates federal immigration laws and regulations, which is why the state Legislature is considering Assembly Bill 1282, which would bar ICE contractors from prisons.

According to county data cited by The Times, this sheriff continues to transfer people for nonviolent or non-serious offenses. Whether inmate transfers are facilitated by contractors or department personnel and take place inside or outside jails, the “minute details of sheriff-ICE interaction” instill fear in immigrant communities and compromise trust, and therefore strike at the heart of the state law restricting the ability of local law enforcement to aid federal immigration authorities.

Andrés Kwon, Los Angeles

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The writer is senior organizer and policy counsel at the ACLU of Southern California.

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