Gang crackdown raises touchy issue
A spot check by federal agents has identified 59 street gang members in Southern California jails who are illegal immigrants subject to deportation, sparking a debate about the role of border enforcement in the region's battle against violent gangs.
The initial identification of deportable gang members came during a first-of-its-kind screening of a portion of jail inmates last month.
The focus on immigration status comes as the city of Los Angeles is calling on federal agencies to help it crack down in response to last year's 15.7% increase in gang crime.
The Washington, D.C.-based group has sued the LAPD to overturn Special Order 40, the rule that prohibits officers from asking about immigration status, arguing that the department is required to enforce all laws.
The policy has been loosened slightly, allowing gang officers to ask about the immigration status of suspects only when they recognize them as having been previously deported.
As recently as last week, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa rejected the argument that eliminating Special Order 40 would help in the battle against gangs.
The mayor said it is the federal government's job to enforce immigration laws.
How screwed up is the system when this is the first time federal agents have checked jails for illegal immigrants?
How messed up are our laws when police officers are not allowed to investigate the immigration status of criminals and gang members?
And how ridiculous is it that LA wants federal help in combating its gang problem, but won't help the feds combat our illegal alien problem, both of which are intricately linked?!
No wonder illegal immigrations is such a huge mess, they've made it illegal to enforce the law!