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Six arrested in immigration protest at L.A. County jail

Immigration protest at downtown L.A. County jail.Six people were arrested outside the downtown L.A. county jail during a protest over immigration and law enforcement policies, police said Thursday evening.

The activists were protesting what they contend are Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca's "destructive policies that have lead to the deportations of thousands each year," according to a statement sent to reporters.

The activists were also urging Gov. Jerry Brown to sign the Trust Act, which would prohibit local authorities from complying with federal detention requests except when a suspect has been charged with a serious or violent crime.

Baca has said that, if the act is signed into law, he will defy it because it would force him to disobey a federal law that requires local law enforcement authorities to share fingerprint databases with immigration authorities.

"Federal law trumps state law," Baca spokesman Steve Whitmore said Thursday evening.

Under the federal law, known as the Secure Communities program, the Sheriff's Department has been providing information to immigration officials after people convicted of crimes have served their county sentences. 

The protesters Thursday said Baca's deputies have aided in the deportation of people for "things like minor traffic tickets, riding a bike on the sidewalk, or even calling the police for help."

Fewer than one-third of the roughly 80,000 people deported from California through Secure Communities since the state joined the program in 2009 were convicted of serious felonies. Most of the rest committed misdemeanors.

Of the six people arrested, five were apprehended on suspicion of failing to disperse. The other allegedly battered a firefighter, the Los Angeles Police Department said.

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-- Andrew Blankstein (twitter.com/anblanx) and Robert J. Lopez (twitter.com/LAJourno)

Photo: Protesters outside the county jail Thursday. Credit: Luis Serrano/Immigrant Youth Coalition

 
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