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Los Angeles County Nixes Controversial Immigration Program

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One vote was the deciding factor that put an end to the controversial 287g program in Los Angeles County, California.

The program, which was adopted in 2005, allowed Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to enter county jails in order to determine whether certain inmates could be transferred into federal custody to face deportation. Furthermore, 287g allowed for immigrants to be held past their release date, a practice that was found unconstitutional by a judge in Oregon.

The vote comes after Los Angeles County voted to renew their contract with federal authorities last year. According to KPCC, it was after the departure of County Supervisor Gloria Molina that opposers of the 287g program saw an opportunity to challenge it:

Last fall, county supervisors voted to renew their contract with the federal government, with support for the program led by former supervisor Gloria Molina.

But with Molina no longer on the board, the balance on the board has shifted. Her successor, Hilda Solis, joined fellow new supervisor Sheila Keuhl, and Mark Ridley-Thomas in moving to rescind the contract.

The program was ultimately deemed “redundant,” given that the County already participates in the federal government’s Secure Community program – allowing jails to fingerprint immigrants and determine if they were eligible for deportation.

The Secure Communities program is currently being phased out, and will be replaced by the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP):

Under the new PEP initiative, jails will now be asked to notify federal authorities when someone will be released, so agents can be waiting. This time, the agency says, local officials can trust that only people convicted of serious crimes will be targeted.

In recent weeks, top Homeland Security officials have been touring the country to try to generate support for the new program and reenlist police chiefs and mayors in the cause of deporting people convicted of crimes.

The cancellation of the 287g agreements in Los Angeles County, leaves Orange County as the last of the four original subscribers of the program. San Bernandino and Riverside, the other two counties that also wielded 287g agreements, have already terminated their contracts.