Posted Apr 05, 2007 04:04 pm CDT
Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo and LA County District Attorney Steve Cooley have partnered with federal law enforcement agencies to deport some suspected gang members before they are convicted of new crimes.
Police officers in Southern California have generally not inquired about the immigration status of suspects, fearing that such inquiries would hamper their ability to investigate crimes in the immigrant community, the Los Angeles Times reports.
“Undocumented immigrants are a large source of the members of gangs and have been part of the surge that has occurred in the San Fernando Valley,” Delgadillo said. “If we know there are gang members, we should be in the position to discern every law they have broken, including whether they have come here illegally.”
More than 20% of LA County Jail inmates — about 40,000 people — and more than 10% of Orange County Jail inmates were illegal immigrants.