Orange County Sheriff Michael S. Carona outlined to Latino activists on Monday his plan for deputies to enforce federal immigration laws, provoking concern among the activists that it would promote racial profiling.
The sheriff wants to train 200 deputies this year, and eventually more, to use federal immigration databases to uncover criminal immigrants.
On Monday, Carona met with the Orange County Community Coalition, an organization he created about six years ago comprising mostly Latino organizations. Its function is to provide advice on his policies, and on Monday, he got some.
“All of the members of the coalition are against the sheriff involving himself in immigration matters,” said Amin David, who leads Los Amigos of Orange County, a Latino advocacy group.
Members of Los Amigos of Orange County, the Santa Ana chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens and the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund said giving deputies federal power could result in more racial profiling and deportation of hard-working, poorly paid immigrants simply for violating traffic laws.
They also said undocumented immigrants would be less likely to report crimes when the plan went into effect for fear of being deported.
“My fear is that the Sheriff’s Department will focus on looking for immigrant criminals instead of all criminals,” said Los Amigos member Luis Arturo Guevara.