Politicians’ promises to protect the undocumented ring hollow to the tens of thousands of unauthorized immigrants whom the federal government has removed over the past six years. Many of those deported did not have criminal convictions and lived in what are being called “sanctuary cities.”

The saga involving the San Diego Association of Governments can get convoluted pretty quickly. First, there’s the fact that SANDAG is not too familiar to many people. Then there’s the fact that the scandal centers on some complex stuff, namely economic forecasts and what goes into them. The fundamental issue at hand, though, is not complex: A powerful government agency knowingly misled the public. And that’s worth understanding.

Last year, police stopped a group of boys in Logan Heights for wearing blue and walking in a public park. They collected DNA swabs from all of them, despite a state law that would seemingly prevent them from doing so. A new lawsuit from the family of one of the boys is challenging department policy.