A few weeks ago on Warren Olney’s public radio show, Sheriff Baca even went to far as to say that undocumented people are not afforded any protections by the Constitution:
“The show’s host, Warren Olney, pressed Baca on the issue of noncriminals being identified and deported through Secure Communities. He referenced the case of a woman who had called 911 and had been arrested along with her husband in a domestic violence case. The woman was never convicted of a crime, but was discovered to be undocumented and was taken into ICE custody for deportation proceedings. Baca inaccurately insisted that she had committed a crime. Olney pointed out that she was accused of committing a crime, but was never convicted. When the host mentioned that everyone is presumed innocent until convicted, Baca said “that’s true if you’re an American citizen.” Olney then asked “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?” To which Baca responded, “That’s basically correct.”
Legal experts have pointed out that the U.S. Constitution makes no distinction between legal and unauthorized immigrants, and that the protections of the Constitution apply to all persons, regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin, or immigration status. Seeing that Sheriff Baca’s job is to uphold the U.S. Constitution, his comments are deeply disturbing.”
This is the same Sheriff Baca who has displayed a bit of a problem with accepting gifts and who is facing criticism for his department’s management or lack thereof of the county jails. The LA Sheriff’s department is already having issues and is receiving complaints about its ability to jail inmates and handle visitors to the jails, and now Lee Baca is making statements indicating that he’s also a judge in immigration cases determining who qualifies for Constitutional protections. This is disturbing for Los Angeles County residents.