UC Irvine Study Charges Orange County Probation With Unlawful ICE Referrals

ocpd.jpg
"Second chances for all"
A new report from the UC Irvine School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic (IRC) blasts the Orange County Probation Department (OCPD) for its collaboration with federal immigration officials. The "Second Chances for All" study released today comes just days after activists shut down the entrance to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility in Santa Ana.

As OC leads the state in ICE detainer requests for youth, the IRC points the finger at the referral practices by the OCPD as the main reason why. The department's policy, authors of the report say, violates confidentiality law and prioritizes deportation over rehabilitation.

At issue is a written procedure that directs intake officers to determine a youth's immigration status once entering juvenile hall. Without sufficient training in violation of constitutional rights, the study states, OCPD officers are obliged to notify their ICE liaison if a minor "appears to be an undocumented alien," a determination made through interviews, state database and birth certificate checks.

Referrals turn into detainer requests...a whole lot of them.

According to the Santa Barbara-based Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, OCPD referred an estimated 546 youth to federal immigration enforcement officials between January 2009 and June 2012. Furthermore, ICE issued 697 detainer requests statewide from October 2009 to February 2013. OC detentions accounted for 43% of them alone.

"These referrals have a devastating impact," said James Buatti, co-author of the report, at a press conference in downtown Santa Ana today. "They separate children from their families and potentially subject them to indefinite detention and even deportation to countries where they may not have ever visited or may have no support structures."

ocpd_pressconference.jpg
Gabriel San Román / OC Weekly
Annie Lai, editor of the report, speaks before assembled media

The IRC is currently representing a 16-year-old youth named "Eva" as a client who is in detention and faces that very ominous prospect of deportation Buatti mentioned. She provided a prepared statement which was read aloud. "I don't think it's fair that they should refer kids to ICE," the youth said in terms of OCPD. "It's not fair for a child to be dropped off in a country that they don't know anything about."

In November of last year, the OCPD made minor modifications to its referral procedures with criteria set for making an immigration status determination only when it is in the minor's best interests or if the person presents a clear threat to public safety. The flawed, unauthorized method remains largely intact, the authors write, opening up possibilities of racial profiling and wrongful detention.

"How can we trust the probation department to uphold laws when they're the ones breaking the laws?" asked Abraham Medina of Keep Our Families Together, an immigration reform group. "They're breaking state laws [and] violating constitutional rights of minors. What we have to do is come together and address the issue so that it is no longer invisible, so that youth no longer suffer in ICE detention centers."

Arguing that the status quo opens the county up to potential litigation on multiple fronts, the report offers a number of recommendations including that the OCPD stop referring juveniles to ICE, put a halt to investigating their immigration status and end complaince with ICE detainers.

If the OCPD won't reform in that manner, the IRC suggests, among other things, that they tighten up their existing procedure to respect confidentiality law, allow no immigration questioning by federal immigration officers without proper notice and clearly define the criteria by which referrals have been conducted since November 2012.

After the press conference wrapped up, the community delegation marched to the nearby probation department to hand deliver the report.

Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @dpalabraz

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23 comments
jamiepizza99
jamiepizza99

keep in mind folks, these above us in the picture are 101% for Obama and what's funny is, they know Obama deported more illegals between 2009 to 2011 than any White Republican President in History..sad part is they wont admit it to themselves..people who can Lie to themselves are Toxic.

gregbpc
gregbpc topcommenter

These 'kids", are being detained for doing something illegal (arrested), correct?  Seems to me if they want to stay in this country, if you aren't going follow our immigration laws, at least follow the other laws. The parents are welcome to return to their home country with their kids.  

anonymous
anonymous

Heard about the story today on the radio.  These children are minors and have parents. How can a country just be able to rip children away from their parents, even though a parent might happen to be a legal citizen (father or mother)?  These children who attend U.S. schools are allowed to be in school legally; but cannot walk on U.S. soil?  Regardless, the parents rights to their children are being violated here also, in my opinion.  These people are here and they are working many jobs that no citizen would want, to work hours in the hot sun, or over 40 hours a week, for years.  The U.S. collects their Taxes, what does the Tax Code say about this.  These people, I am sure are mostly Hispanics in his report that are being detained which shows that racial profiling is being used possibly, and this type of profiling does hurt many other minorities in the U.S.

They have homes, like homesteads of the past, they are throughout the U.S. and its way too late to try to get rid of them.  So like in the past, the government will eventually give amnesty.

Jason Roberson
Jason Roberson

Why should my tax dollars go to rehabilitate foreign nationals?

Victor Limoguy Valladares
Victor Limoguy Valladares

I'm even gonna say fuck NO NEED TO FUND PROGRAMS #REHAB FOR LOSERS if they want to change they will Period!!!

armandocdll81
armandocdll81

I fail to see a problem here. If illegal immigrants can be identified, brought to justice and repatriated to their home countries why would a "School of Law" object? Is it not the job of our government to regulate the flow of foreign nationals across our borders? 

SickSnail
SickSnail

"It's not fair. Boo hoo."

Maybe their parents should have thought about that when they brought them here in violation of the law. Maybe their parents who are in the country illegally, too, should leave with them when they get deported so they don't have to be all alone in a country they have no support system in. Fuckers need to STOP coming! As long as we are compassionate they will NEVER stop coming.

Steve SanFilipo
Steve SanFilipo

"The department's policy, authors of the report say, violates confidentiality law and prioritizes deportation over rehabilitation." If they are not in the country legally, they MUST be deported. Save rehab for addicts and citizen criminals.

Salientt
Salientt

@jamiepizza99 Hi there. The clinic and report are actually non-partisan, and as a factual matter I know that not all the individual presenters were Obama supporters. Probably not even a majority, in fact. Hope that helps clear things up. 

Salientt
Salientt

@gregbpc Seems like a bit of a hard-line stance, considering we're talking about children. All kids make mistakes; I'm sure most of us broke a law or two when we were teens. But also consider that a significant number of children have been referred to ICE before their delinquency cases were even adjudicated. Given the whole "innocent until proven guilty" thing, it seems unfair to assume they did something illegal before they even go through the system. 

jamiepizza99
jamiepizza99

@anonymous go to youtube and watch the Cambodian deportee documentaries..you will never feel sympathetic again..their crimes are usually not no petty theft but hardcore felonies..and when they return to Cambodia, they still try to walk the streets like badasses..Cambodia Government is pissed and says they hate the American gang culture that has rained down on them since 1995.

armandocdll81
armandocdll81

@anonymous If it's too late to get rid of them then why to unauthorized aliens throw such shameless temper tantrums every time  the forces of justice compel them to be accountable for their actions? Illegal aliens squirm in fear of legal mechanisms like Secure Communities, E-verify and I-9 audits because such mechanisms work. So-called "dreamers" become churlish and belligerent once they realize that most good jobs are unavailable to law-breakers. It is never too late to do the right thing. 

armandocdll81
armandocdll81

They shouldn't. We had our chance with Proposition 187 back in 1994 - unfortunately Gray Davis didn't have the balls to defend it. 

jamiepizza99
jamiepizza99

@armandocdll81 not when your government is run by zionest...  read their playbook..it's a carbon copy.  every nation they govern has an immigration issue..

gabrielsanroman
gabrielsanroman topcommenter

@armandocdll81 Read the report. It's linked in the first paragraph. Unless you want to continue taking shortcuts to thinking.

armandocdll81
armandocdll81

@gabrielsanroman @armandocdll81 The contents of the report do not dispute the fact that the ensnared foreign nationals are unlawfully present within the United States and that repatriation of said aliens is lawful. 

Salientt
Salientt

@armandocdll81 @gabrielsanroman Actually it does. One of the problems with juvenile referrals is that many children are actually eligible for immigration relief, but the county refers them to ICE without any regard for that eligibility. By doing this the county is potentially (a) depriving children of the opportunity to apply; and/or (b) wasting county resources by referring high numbers of children who ultimately do receive relief (and harming the children in the process, obviously).


There's also the issue of mistaken referrals, where the county mistakenly refers not just children who are eligible for immigration relief, but children who have already obtained immigration relief or even children who are citizens. By referring children without the necessary training in federal immigration law, the probation department is increasing the risk that this will continue to happen and expose the county to potential liability. 


Hope that helps clear things up =). 

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

It still seems unfair that they should be set on the fast track to deportation because of a citizenship technicality...they didn't ask their parents to bring them here...

gregbpc
gregbpc topcommenter

@FishWithoutBicycle  These are kids that were arrested for something unrelated to immigration.  It's not like they are being pulled of the street for nothing.  If i'm in a country illegally, I'm going be sure to follow the laws.  The biggest lie is illegals are "hiding in the shadows".  Most are out in broad daylight, arrogantly flaunting the laws, with the help of apologists like Ms. Lai.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

So it's ok to punish children for the sins of their parents? Sounds pretty misanthropic to me...

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