The parents of students at Miramonte Elementary School are uncertain about coming forward to authorities regarding the school's sexual abuse scandal, citing the potential for deportation. It's an issue of an immigrant's rights in a police case, and with programs like Secure Communities and 287 (g) on the books - the latter of which is supported by police in Miramonte's district - many families of the school are hesitant to assist the investigation.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has stated it will not pursue or inquire about the immigration status of any witnesses, victims or families with ties to the scandal. Unlike the Los Angeles Police Department, the Sheriff's Department has entered a partnership with the federal government under 287(g). That law gives local authorities who are a part of the 287(g) program to share inmate information with federal immigration officials, potentially leading to the person's deportation.
It is a difficult scenario for law enforcement. The immigration programs and legislation they enter into (or uphold) appear to be hindering their investigation into a serious criminal case that has garnered national attention.
The situation is even more tumultuous for the immigrants targeted by these laws. Sexual abuse of a child is a very serious charge, and now there are families who fear deportation if they are to try and help out in the investigation.
Programs like 287(g) create confusion and stress for immigrants in the U.S., and the Miramonte case will force officials and lawmakers alike to consider the consequences of such legislation. In the current climate, people without U.S. citizenship have so many questions about enacted immigration programs and laws that they rarely can answer themselves.
That's where a professional attorney with experience handling immigration cases comes in. Such legal representation can give you the information you need to understand what your legal situation is as an immigrant.
Source: Multi-American, "Sheriff's Dept. to Miramonte Elementary parents: 'We will not ask their legal status,'" Feb. 8, 2012, Leslie Berestein Rojas, Feb. 8, 2012