A few years ago, a San Diego County Sheriff’s deputy walked into a liquor store in Vista to deliver a letter on new synthetic drug policies. He asked the man behind the counter, who received the letter on behalf of the owner, for an ID. And when the clerk produced a Mexican ID card, the deputy called Border Patrol and had the man deported.
Less than two months later, the body of Ildefonso Martinez Sanchez was found on the grounds of the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation in Arizona. He was attempting to return home to his wife and five U.S.-born children.
This is just one tragic example of what occurs every day when local police act as deportation agents. Through these types of actions, scores of families are broken up throughout the country, leaving countless more fearful that any interaction with local law enforcement might end in deportation.
Although California has since made strides to ensure local law enforcement agents do not serve as deportation agents, there is still much to be done to keep families together and communities whole.
That is why California legislators must pass Senate Bill 54 by state Sen. Kevin de León to prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies from using their limited resources to investigate, detain, report or arrest people for the sole purpose of immigration enforcement.
It’s not difficult to assume that the message received by undocumented immigrants in Vista who heard the sad story of the Martinez family was: Don’t come into contact with local law enforcement. Don’t call them when you’ve been the victim of a crime and don’t call them if you were a witness to a crime. You too might end up deported.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
It seems the real issue here is we have a broken immigration system.
The fact that there is a long process to become "legal" seems to be the real issue. The difficulty in gaining legal status creates the illegal immigrat problem. I would like to see Norma Chavez-Peterson and the ACLU spend their time and resources fixing the root of the problem. Make it easy enough to become a legal resident, or citizen, and that solves most of the problems.
Focus on the cause, not the symptom.
The Indians don't care for trespassing on their reservation, maybe "we" should take it from them and make it free range in the interest of fairness?