It would be odd, as that’s you know, against the law. However, we have multiple reports of the San Diego sheriff handing over “suspected illegal aliens” to border patrol agents. So, as it currently stands, several neighborhoods have checkpoints to enter, purportedly to prevent looting. However, if undocumented immigrants enter, the Sheriff intends to hand them over to Border Patrol agents.
Not only is this unwise and a poor use of resources, but it is also likely illegal. Below, I’ve posted a press release from the ACLU with more details (hat tip to NarcoSphere). Concerned community leaders are urged to communicate with Sheriff Kolender and Undersheriff Bill Gore at (858) 974-2250 or [email protected].
According to the San Diego ACLU:
• As evacuation orders are lifted on San Diego County communities, Sheriff Kolender plans to check i.d. of returning residents at checkpoints and continue his practice of detaining and handing over people suspected of being undocumented to U.S. Border Patrol.
• Sheriff Kolender, who typically says the Sheriff’s Department does not have the resources to do the federal government’s job of immigration enforcement, has refused to drop his policy of nonetheless helping Border Patrol when identifying potentially undocumented persons despite the tremendous demands on the Sheriff’s Department and the highly unusual practice of setting up military-style checkpoints outside people’s neighborhoods.
• Sheriff Kolender also dismissed advice that people who are undocumented will be afraid to return to family and residences in the area due to the Sheriff’s checkpoints and policy of cooperating with Border Patrol.
• “In a time of emergency, the Sheriff seems inclined to put immigration politics over basic human decency,” said Kevin Keenan, executive Director of the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties. “It will be a shameful mark on an otherwise commendable performance during the County’s historic wildfire tragedy.”
• The checkpoints may last between one and three days. During this time Border Patrol and other agencies will be assisting the Sheriff’s Department. North (San Diego) County is home to a large population of farmworkers, landscapers, and domestic workers–many undocumented–who help harvest tomatoes and other crops and tend to the area’s many wealthy residences. It is expected that this same population will be relied upon to rebuild, clean up, and hastily harvest surviving crops.
• “The Sheriff needs to prioritize helping people get home after this long ordeal,” said Norma Chavez Peterson, executive director of Justice Overcoming Boundaries. “He will exacerbate the area’s crisis by keeping residents displaced, rather than administering a safe and swift return.”
According to the Immigrant Rights Consortium, who set up relief centers for immigrants at Qualcomm and the Del Mar Fairgrounds:
-“We have a humanitarian crisis that is escalating. Red Cross will no longer allow the NGOs that have been transporting goods to families in need who can’t get to RC distribution sites or who are too scared to go to access relief supplies. They are requiring individuals to appear in person and identify themselves. This affects not only undocumented and mixed families, but also the poor and homeless who don’t have transportation, including Native Americans on/near non-gaming tribal lands who are not being serviced and were greatly affected.”
From Enrique Morones of Border Angels:
“This fire storm has brought out the best and sometimes the worst in people. There have been several cases of discrimination, intimidation and inequity in the relief efforts and we want to make it clear…that we are one community, and we want to be sure all the needs of the entire community are met. We will continue to reach out to those in need and demand that we will not tolerate discrimination or intimidation of any kind.”
“While with KATRINA, many of our African American brethren were unfairly treated and characterized, now its us, the Latino community, that are often targeted” states Enrique Morones of Border Angels & Gente Unida.
Please be sure to join us as we will ask other community members and organizations to join us, we realize there are many people involved in reaching out to our brethren and this is greatly appreciated. As Martin Luther King taught us “injustice here, is injustice everywhere”
Brian Leubitz is the founder and publisher of Calitics, a progressive open source news organization for California politics. Prior to starting Calitics, he was an attorney and more recently he obtained a masters degree in public policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the Univeristy of California, Berkeley. This article is republished with his permission.