Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca has vowed to uphold the laws of the land, especially those in the U.S. Constitution. So why is he saying that the protections guaranteed by the Constitution don't apply to all residents of L.A. County?
On May 12th, Baca told a radio interviewer that he was “basically correct” when asked if he believed that people here without proper documentation “are not to subject to the kinds of civil rights protections that US Citizens are.”
This is not only outrageous and incorrect, it is dangerous. As one of Los Angeles’ chief law enforcement officers, Sheriff Baca sends the destructive message that he and his officers are not protecting the rights of all Angelenos.
The U.S. Constitution makes no distinction between persons in the U.S. with proper documentation and those without. In fact, the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution apply to all persons, regardless of their race, religion, sex, national origin, or immigration status.
We need to tell Sheriff Baca that no law enforcement officer should be allowed to undermine our basic civil liberties. Sign the petition to demand that Sheriff Baca immediately correct his dangerous statements, which would deny Constitutionally-guaranteed rights to L.A. residents.
Let's remind Sheriff Baca his job is to uphold the law for all his county’s inhabitants!
- Sheriff, Los Angeles County
We write to express our dismay about the statements you made May 12, 2011, on Warren
Olney’s show, “Which Way L.A.,” on KCRW 89.9.
In particular, Mr. Olney asked you, “So you’re saying that if people are here illegally, they simply are not subject to the kinds of civil rights protections that American citizens are?” Your response was: “That’s basically correct.” This and other statements you made during the show are deeply troubling.
The U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights speak not of “legal” and “illegal” persons. Indeed, the protections of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights generally apply to all persons regardless, among other things, of their race, religion, sex, national origin, or immigration status. As the sheriff of Los Angeles, you took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and the laws of the land, and to enforce those laws equally with respect to all persons. Your profound misunderstanding of the laws you are duty-bound to uphold undermines your leadership and ability, as the sheriff of Los Angeles, to serve and protect all of the residents of this county, one of the most diverse counties in the United States.
We hope that you recognize the gravity of the statements you made and the message you have sent to the communities of immigrants that make up our county. Already, the Secure Communities program has so entangled the law enforcement efforts of the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department with the federal business of immigration enforcement that residents fear calling or interacting with the police. Your comments drive that fear even deeper, and so we ask that you retract your comments and reaffirm your commitment to protect the constitutional rights of all those who live and visit Los Angeles County.
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