The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department has refused to honor more than 25,000 requests from federal immigration officials to turn over criminal aliens being housed in its jails, according to data obtained by Fox News. The figure represents the detainer requests by ICE for the 2020 fiscal year, ICE spokesperson Alexx Pons told Fox News.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva stated that the Sheriff’s department would halt the transfer of criminal illegal aliens to the federal agency, citing “conditions” at various ICE detention facilities and erroneously argued that the fear of deportation could hinder criminal investigations.
"There is no greater threat to public safety than a million undocumented immigrants who are afraid to report crime, out of fear of deportation and having their families torn apart," Villanueva said in an announcement. "As the Sheriff of Los Angeles County, I am responsible for everyone’s public safety, regardless of immigration status. I will not allow an entire segment of the population to be afraid to report crimes to law enforcement and be forced, again, back into the shadows."
Henry Lucero, an executive associate for ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations, stated the obvious when it comes to Villanueva's mandate in an interview with the Washington Examiner.
“As a federal law enforcement agency, ICE supports all individuals reporting crimes regardless of immigration status in the United States,” he told the publication. “It’s very mind-boggling as a career law enforcement official that someone would implement this policy."
The agency has already adopted a national policy that prohibits the initiating of removal proceedings against someone living in the United States illegally who is the immediate victim or the witness to a crime, completely undercutting the LA Sherrif’s claim:
"Any assertion or claim to the contrary is false, and in this case, seemingly political," an ICE statement to Fox News read. "The greatest threat to public safety falls on the more than 10 million Los Angeles County residents who stand to be victimized due to the release of convicted criminal aliens by law enforcement officials."
In 2019, more than 11,500 ICE detainers were issued in Los Angeles County, home to the country's largest jail system. The subjects of the detainers had convictions for serious crimes that included murder, assault and sex and weapons offenses.
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Updated: Mon, Sep 21st 2020 @ 2:36pm EDT