The authorities have a duty and commitment to transparency. Taxpayers, who pay public officials’ salaries, and citizens, who elect these officials, have the legal right to obtain information, in this case, from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office.
Therefore, it is appalling and outrageous that Sheriff Lee Baca refused to disclose information about his agency’s cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement through the Secure Communities (S-Comm) Program.
Several immigrant rights advocacy organizations requested information from the police department under the California Public Records Act, but they were repeatedly denied this information and had to resort to a lawsuit. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Superior Court ruled against the sheriff, determining that the requested information is not exempt from the law.
We hope the judge orders the information to be turned over, in order to bring more light into S-Comm, a process that has been murky from the beginning.
Sheriff Baca is a supporter of this program, which has deported more working people who pose no danger to society than the criminals it is supposed to target by definition.
Just for this reason, in addition to the fact that Los Angeles is one of the cities with the most deportations under this program, it would be fair to provide the information requested by the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and the National Immigration Law Center.
By hiding from public scrutiny, all the Sheriff’s Office is getting is more discredit and mistrust-which is happening quickly, given scandals such as the one involving jail violence.