Your Aug. 26 story [“The Front Lines”] about the ACLU questioning the new sheriff's policy on detaining immigrants said:
“John Morton, assistant secretary of immigration and customs enforcement, who met with reporters in San Diego last week, said ICE is ‘changing its approach to 287(g) significantly,' focusing on people ‘who pose a threat to public safety.
“‘It's not going to be about street-level civil immigration enforcement but, rather, efforts where we partner with state and local law enforcement to go after criminal fugitives—the people we, frankly, ought to be going after together,' Morton said.”
A major problem with permitting local law enforcement such as the Sheriff's Department to enter into agreement with immigration authorities on detaining “criminal fugitives” is that regulations stipulating implementation of the program are non-existent. ICE still has not issued regulations governing implementation of Operation Secure Communities, which currently allows the Sheriff's Department to integrate Department of Homeland Security databases purportedly to detect and assist in the removal of “high-risk criminal aliens.” Yet, this is applied during arrest, booking and any arraignment or custody hearing. This means that non-citizens who have not been convicted of a crime most likely will be subjected to removal proceedings, undermining the purported intention of Secure Communities.
Operation Secure Communities encourages deputies to question people for immigration status. Recent complaints about overzealous questioning in Vista by deputies of day laborers (without the presence of a crime being committed) highlight the troubling trend of how local officers abuse their authority. This undermines local police efforts in community policing, a strategy that builds trusting relationships between local law-enforcement agencies and civil society. Without regulations in place, there are no oversight systems to ensure erroneous referrals to the Secure Communities initiative do not take place. In entering into this agreement with DHS, the sheriff cannot ensure compliance with local, state and federal laws and policies governing ethnic and racial profiling. The lack of regulations governing federal immigration-enforcement initiatives such as the 287(g) program have been burdened with operational failures, and this can have dire consequences for the civil and human rights of San Diego County residents, irrespective of immigration status.
Director, US/Mexico Border Program,
American Friends Service Committee
Street Scene's a burden
I have to say I read your paper every now and then, and for the most part, I like it, but for a fairly progressive paper that has written about things like the homeless-shelter issue, I'd hope that Street Scene wouldn't have been so embraced.
Of course, it is a really big cultural thing in San Diego, and it's only appropriate that you would cover it. However, I am part of the local Food Not Bombs, and we serve in that area. We feed every Wednesday afternoon around 5 p.m. at the intersection of 16th and Island, just a block away from a stage that was going up. We feed the people who live there. Some have lived there for years and have been exhausting themselves with classes and meetings to try to get back on their feet. Some are more recently on the street. They constantly have to struggle to find food, shelter, a clean bathroom-like place, safety from drug addicts who camp a block east and safety from police harassment.
They are already displaced people with enough on their plates without having to be kicked out once again just so a bunch of young people with money to spend can see bands where somebody else sleeps.
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