June 7, 2002
Dear Mr. Delgadillo:
I am in receipt of a copy of your email message to Ms. Miller (see following in blue).
Dear E. Miller,
Thank you for your e-mail regarding immigration policy. I greatly value the input of all the residents of our great City and appreciate that you took the time to share your thoughts with me and hope you will do so again. I know we share a common desire to make our neighborhoods safer and to increase the quality of life for all Angelenos.
In order to foster cooperation from all our communities, the City and its LAPD have a long-standing policy to not detain individuals solely because of suspected illegal immigration status. This is the policy I support and was the subject of my public position on June 3rd.
Our reasoning is that witnesses to and victims of crime will not come forward if they fear that our police department's main concern is their immigration status. If this were the case, law abiding residents who are crime victims will suffer when important witnesses critical to prosecuting and convicting criminals do not come forward.
I am concerned about the U.S. Department of Justice's proposed policy changes to require state and local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws because I believe that such a move will undermine our ability to effectively prosecute and prevent crimes in Los Angeles.
When we encounter criminals already arrested on other matters who are also in this country illegally we cooperate fully with the federal authorities in these cases.
Thank you again for your comments, which have not gone unnoticed.
Rockard J. Delgadillo City Attorney
You no doubt know who I am, because as an activist, I have been critical of you. I have emailed you several times regarding Special Order 40, but you chose not to deal with the issue as far as I was concerned.
I for one agree with you about the need to keep the trust of innocent witnesses and victims. But illegal alien gang criminals are not innocent witnesses or victims:
Your statement "When we encounter criminals already arrested on other matters who are also in this country illegally we cooperate fully with the federal authorities in these cases" is like buying insurance after the accident.
Following is the text of a piece I wrote that was published on May 3, 2002, in the Los Angeles Daily News:
There have been some scenarios where a drive-by gang killer was later apprehended (unfortunately, the LAPD does not have a good batting average in that dept.) and found to be an illegal alien who could have been deported before he had a chance to commit murder. Had I been the parent of an innocent victim killed by a previously identified gang member who turned out to be an illegal alien, I would sue the city on the grounds that the killing could have been prevented, had the killer been turned over by the LAPD to the INS for deportation before the crime could have been committed. No doubt, Yagman will eventually get on that band wagon.
The citizenry is fed up with your inactions against known gang members that make Los Angeles a criminal friendly city. As a Van Nuys block captain for the last 11 years, I have spoken to hundreds of residents including undocumented immigrants. They agree with me that the LAPD should establish the immigration status of known gang members, the same ones to whom you apply injunctions, and if found to be illegal aliens, DEPORT THEM!
Since I can't get you, Mayor Hahn, my present Council representative, or any of the other council bunch who keep whining about how they want to take back their streets, to read my lips on this pragmatic solution to significantly reducing gang crime, I can only conclude that all of you have political motives driving you to look the other way.
Is there something I don't know? If you have a good reason for NOT cooperating with the INS in deporting illegal alien gang members BEFORE they murder someone, I would like to hear about it. If you feel your position is valid, then I challenge you to a public debate on the issue.
One more thing:
An April 21, 2002 Daily News article attests to what should be common sense to you. From the article: ...A study by Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca estimated that 38,748 county inmates -- 23 percent of the jail population -- were undocumented immigrants. The county's total cost of dealing with deportable criminal aliens was estimated at $150 million... See presidents budget strains California
How many of those illegal alien criminals would not have committed the crime for which they are encarcerated and other unsolved crimes, if you would have cooperated with the INS in deporting them before they committed their respective crimes.