The Board of Supervisors Wednesday voted to support a program intended to root out illegal immigrants in Los Angeles County jails.
The board voted to direct Sheriff Lee Baca to modify his department’s agreement with U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to ensure that known gang members receive priority for interviews that would determine their immigration status before their release from jail.
“Every known gang member who is on the list for an interview should be interviewed prior to release back into our communities,” said Supervisor Michael Antonovich, who introduced the motion.
‘Inmates are already subject to an immigration interview if they are self-declared to be foreign born, have been convicted and will serve out their sentence in a county jail as opposed to a state prison,” said Anna Pemebedjian, justice deputy for Antonovich.
The vote comes on the heels of community pressure after the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Jamiel Shaw Jr., allegedly by a reputed gang member, whom authorities believe was in the country illegally.
The football athlete who attended Los Angeles High School was shot and killed just feet away from his home in the West Adams district a day after the suspect was released from a county jail.
“We tell our kids that nationality and colors don’t make a difference, but when you have the illegal alien gangbanger come in and killing his brother, or doing all kinds of harm to American citizens, it brings back up the color issue,” Anita Shaw, Jamiel’s mother told the board. “Something has to be done.”
There are roughly 4,000 gang members are currently in county jails, according to Baca.