In an open letter to law enforcement leaders, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asked sheriffs in California to cease harmful practices that target illegal alien communities.
The letter comes at a time when California is burdened with nearly $30 billion budget deficits and a new Rasmussen Poll that states 67 percent of Americans want states to tackle the illegal alien problem plaguing the country.
The ACLU contends apprehending illegal aliens costs local agencies money they no longer have to combat those residing in California unlawfully.
“Most law enforcement officers do not want to double as federal immigration agents. They know that it discourages witnesses and victims of crime from coming forward and ultimately harms public safety for everyone,” said report co-author and ACLU of Northern California (ACLU-NC) Staff Attorney Julia Harumi Mass. “We want to partner with law enforcement agencies and share what we have learned: that sheriffs and police chiefs across California can adopt practices that protect everyone and make wise use of taxpayer dollars.”
However the ACLU report and letter fail to acknowledge that a study by Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR) illustrated California spends roughly $20 billion a year in services for illegal aliens in the Golden State.
Illegal immigration activists point out that if local, state and federal law enforcement did their job and enforced the nation’s immigration laws there would be more money for departments who are committed to keeping the peace.
The ACLU, however, sees things much differently.
“The federal government is not playing fair with local police and sheriffs. Most don’t want to engage in the dirty work of immigration enforcement or take on its steep costs,” report author Amalia Greenberg Delgado explained. “At a time of shrinking police departments’ staff and budgets, we hope California’s law enforcement leadership will review unnecessarily costly practices and rebuild trust with communities.”
The ACLU report went on to stipulate that “the legal framework for current police practices in immigrant communities – from vehicle checkpoints and impoundments to prolonged detention of immigrants in local jails, among others (was a harsh reality).” The report details the financial and human costs of these practices, including personal stories.
Rule of Law cities in California cite the safety issues that come along with those driving without drivers’ licenses or car insurance. The Escondido Police Department is one of those cities who perform various and random check points (of all residents) in an effort to curtail their unusually high number of car accidents. “It works,” says Escondido Police Chief Jim Maher.
Nevertheless, the ACLU believes that immigrant-rich communities think Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is lurking in the shadows at these drivers’ license check points. Maher says that’s not true.
“People fear that when the sheriff is called, ICE is not far behind. This is a huge problem especially in regards to domestic violence,” added Mass. “If victims are reluctant to call local police because they are afraid of becoming ensnared in the ICE web, then batterers enjoy impunity. That’s bad for everyone.”
To alleviate those fears, Chief Maher makes an effort to reach out to his community by attending community gatherings and explaining he is not calling ICE unnecessarily. “My department is trying to rid the city of criminals,” Maher said through an interpreter. “Don’t you want me to remove the rapists, child molesters and murders from your neighborhood?”
As the recession continues to linger, taxpayers are looking at the cold-hard facts that illegal immigration cost them money and are voicing their opinions through various polls like Rasmussen. The results are in- two out of three likely voters want the immigration laws enforced- period.
Read the ACLU Report Costs & Consequences – ACLU Special Report.pdf
Read the ACLU Cost-Saving Proposals ACLU Cost-Saving Proposals.pdf
Read the Rasmussen Poll – A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 67% of Likely U.S. Voters – two-out-of-three – think a state should have the right to enforce immigration laws if it believes the federal government is not enforcing them. Just 22% disagree and say states should not have that right. (To see survey question wording, click here).
© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.
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Late Friday night court documents were released outlining plaintiffs’ undisputed facts and statements regarding the right of qualified individuals to carry a concealed firearm in San Diego County.
The lawsuit was filed last year is finally making its way through the federal court system and the November 1st trial date sets up a showdown with gun right’s advocates and San Diego Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff William Gore and San Diego County.
A list of boiler-plate undisputed facts, filed by plaintiffs, included items like; with few exceptions California prohibits unlicensed individuals from carrying loaded firearms; The only licensed public carrying of loaded firearms is via a “concealed carry” (i.e., with a CCW permit), except in a few sparsely populated counties where one may obtain a license to carry a loaded handgun openly; California law allows for only a Sheriff or Chief of Police to issue a permits to carry a concealed, loaded handgun in public to residents of their jurisdictions or to non-residents who spend a substantial period of time in their principal place of employment or business within that jurisdiction.
Once the attorneys agree on the undisputed facts the courts (or judge) will resolve any remaining undisputed facts between the parties- a fight, which will take place in a federal courtroom.
Among the key challenges facing the County of San Diego and Sheriff Gore will be the alleged preferential treatment for certain residents in the County. The plaintiffs who have had the opportunity to examine public records in the Sheriff’s Department as part of the litigation charge that the county as well as Sheriff Gore freely gives members of the Honorary Deputy Sheriff’s Association CCWs easy access to become licensed to carry firearms.
One of the Plaintiffs Dr. Leslie Buncher’s denial letter from the Sheriff Department read: “The documentation you have provided does not indicate you are a specific target or that you are currently being threatened in any manner. The Sheriff’s Department does not issue CCW’s based on fear alone.”
Buncher and other plaintiffs contend that membership in the Honorary Deputy Sheriff’s Association yielded different results in the CCW application process- all were issued permits.
All Plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit sought a CCW from the County for self-defense purposes, but were denied, except in the case of Plaintiffs Laxson and Dodd decided who did not to apply because they were dissuaded at their initial interview with the Sheriff’s Department and were told they didn’t satisfy the requirements of the County’s policy.
Specifically, Mark Cleary describes in a sworn declaration, provided to the court under the penalty of perjury that he went to the Sheriff’s Department on April 8, 2005 to meet with the firearms licensing division and was questioned about his need for a CCW permit. Officials stated the requirements were “very strict” and encouraged Cleary to withdraw his application.
“They told me I could withdraw my application, and if I did not withdraw it, I would have a denial on my record with the Department of Justice,” Cleary explained in his declaration to the court.
However, Cleary’s application to carry a conceal weapon gets more interesting when he joined the Honorary Deputy Sheriff’s Association (HDSA), after many people informed Cleary that joining the HDSA would increase his chances of getting the firearm permit as well as streamline the CCW process.
“I discovered it was common knowledge among everyone who had any relation to the San Diego Sheriff’s process for issuing permits to carry a concealed handgun that certain people, including HDSA members, received preferential treatment when applying for a permit to carry a concealed handgun,” Clearly claimed.
Curiously, after becoming an HDSA member and asking then, Under-Sheriff Gore, to reconsider his application for a CCW, Gore allegedly said he would see what he could do, according to court documents. Shortly thereafter, “without warning, my first permit to carry a concealed handgun arrived in the mail.”
Just as mysteriously as Cleary’s CCW permit’s arrival was the fact that Cleary’s third renewal was denied.
“I ceased being a member of the Honorary Deputy Sheriff’s Association in January of 2010 because I was having financial issues and could not afford to continue paying the $175-$250 I paid annually to be a member.”
After signing onto this lawsuit Cleary says he asked for an appeal with Assistant Sheriff R. Ahern to review the denial of his CCW application and after the meeting he was given his conceal carry permit for a third time.
The plaintiffs also strongly believe the San Diego Sheriff’s Department continues its practice of preferential treatment for Honorary Sheriff’s Deputy Association members in the CCW application process. Plaintiffs’ undisputed facts Number 18 will certainly be the source of countywide heartache. It reads; “Curiously, certain HDSA members were granted CCWs by the county despite failing to provide such documentation. For example, in the ‘good cause’ section of their applications, some HDSA members merely stated ‘personal protection’ or ‘protection’ without out further explanation or supporting documentation.”
This information was discovered by the plaintiff’s attorneys and investigators who waded through hundreds of CCW applications located within the San Diego Sheriff’s Department.
The group wholly believes the strongest part of their case lies with Cleary’s statement in which he was denied, became an HDSA member, personally met with then Under-Sheriff Gore and magically got his CCW permit.
The plaintiffs also contend “the County holds HDSA members to different, much more lenient standards than the general public, including Plaintiffs, when issuing CCWs. In fact, not one single HDSA member who, while in good standing, has sought a CCW from the County from 2006 to the present has been denied, while 18 nonmembers have been denied and an unknown number of others decided not to formally apply based on their initial interview or failure to satisfy the County’s strict ‘good cause’ requirement applicable to the general public.”
Plaintiffs have lodged 23 undisputed facts and numerous exhibits, some of which are not publically available because they were provided to the court under seal, will make their way to federal court on November 1 of this year. Many 2nd Amendment advocates will be closely monitoring this case and hope that beneficial pro-gun rights benchmarks are tendered that can be used throughout the Golden State.
For those wishing to follow this case and view the documents quoted in this article, the case is titled “3:09-cv-02371-IEG-BGS Peruta v. County of San Diego et al” and available on the Federal Court’s PACER website.