Lee Baca backs off federal immigration program
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca says he will no longer hand over illegal immigrants arrested for low-level crimes to federal officials.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Baca has reversed his position on participating in the federal Secure Communities Program.
The program calls for local law enforcement to send all arrestees’ fingerprints to immigration authorities. If the person is a suspected illegal immigrant, authorities can request the local agency hold the person for 48 hours until a transfer to federal custody.
Spokesman Steve Whitmore says the sheriff reversed his position after the state attorney general on Tuesday told local policing agencies that compliance with the program is voluntary.
Critics say the program has made immigrants fearful of reporting crimes and cooperating with police.