Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said Wednesday that his department’s played a major role in the increase in deportations of undocumented immigrants from the United States.
During a news conference with federal Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in Washington D.C., the sheriff said his deputies checked the immigration status of more than 50,000 inmates at L.A. County jail in the last four years.
Baca said deputies turned 21,000 over to immigration authorities for possible deportation. He said they included people charged with offenses from drunk driving to murder.
Napolitano sought to highlight the removal of nearly 400,000 undocumented immigrants from the country this last year. That’s about the same number as the year before. She said half were convicted criminals.
Immigrant rights activists have complained that the government is deporting too many hardworking long-term residents with no criminal records, and is separating families in the process.
More conservative groups say they want to see more deportations.
KPCC wires contributed to this report.