Immigration policy, like trade and foreign affairs, was deliberately assigned by our founding fathers to the federal government. The failure of Congress and the Obama Administration to deal with the 11 million immigrants in the country illegally, however, has put enormous pressure on local governments to fill the policy gap. In Orange County, that pressure has led to a policy whereby the local probation department refers children in its care to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. While pressure should be put on the Feds to tackle the immigration issue, the policy, in effect, has generated considerable concern in our Latino neighborhoods and within the legal community.
The UC Irvine School of Law recently issued a critical report on the county’s ICE referral policy. Based on its findings, the Orange County Board of Supervisors should place all referrals of minors to ICE on hold while policy-makers review the matter and consider changes.