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Sandy Banks: Parents of Jamiel Shaw Jr. speak to City Council

April 8, 2008 |  2:01 pm

Jamiel_shaw_weeps_while_speaking_atHe’s a grieving father, not a politician. He apologized because he didn’t know whether to say “illegal” or “undocumented.” But Jamiel Shaw’s appeal to the Los Angeles City Council for a new law allowing the deportation of gang members made clear that the anti-illegal-immigration movement has a new, and most unlikely, poster child.

Shaw’s teenage son, Jamiel Jr., was killed last month near his Arlington Heights home. The man charged with his murder is an 18th Street gang member, in this country illegally. Now the Shaw family is pushing for a change in the city’s “sanctuary” policy, to allow gang members who are illegal immigrants to be deported.

Anita Shaw, Jamiel Jr.’s mom, is a soldier called home for his funeral from her second tour of duty in Iraq. “I’m safer in Iraq than my son is on the streets of the United States,” she told the council. “And that’s not right.”

The Shaws’ comments drew prolonged applause from the audience, which included a contingent from the border patrol force, the Minutemen Project. Minute-woman Dee Barrow drove in from Upland to support the family’s push for tougher legislation.

“We have enough of our own criminals to worry about,” she said, “without having to worry about the foreign ones.”

--Sandy Banks

Photo: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times