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Letters: Baca's immigration choice

August 29, 2012

Re "Baca may defy proposed Trust Act," Aug. 25

L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca's commitment to violate a proposed state law he disagrees with in favor of a discretionary federal immigration law he prefers smacks of political opportunism, not public service.

Baca's statements make clear the need for

the governor to sign the Trust Act. Baca misunderstands federal law. It provides only for voluntary cooperation by local law enforcement with immigration agency detention requests. The interpretation the sheriff suggests is not only wrong, but unconstitutional — the federal government is not permitted to commandeer state or local resources. The Trust Act simply defines when it is appropriate for local law to cooperate with federal requests.

Baca wants greater cooperation with an immigration program that transforms his officers from crime fighters into deportation agents — at the expense of the people he is duty-bound to serve. He is precisely why we need the Trust Act.

Hector Villagra

Los Angeles

The writer is executive director of the ACLU of Southern California.

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