LA unions say DA has acted ‘inconsistently’ on immigration

Image copyright AFP Image caption Protesters believe Gascon has not prosecuted members of the mafia or human trafficking ringids

A coalition of labour groups and labour unions, along with criminal justice reform advocates, wants to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey.

They say the office has, in some instances, acted ‘inconsistently’ in areas like immigration and child sexual exploitation.

For many, the fight to recall Ms Lacey is an extension of opposition to the country’s ongoing immigration crackdown.

According to a group of unions, Los Angeles County “has been excluded from due process” when dealing with undocumented immigrants.

In their letter to the Los Angeles City Council, the unions say at the time of publishing, 195 requests for a refugee protection inquiry had been put in to the Los Angeles County Department of Health and Social Services.

That number nearly tripled last month – when 359 requests came in for an inquiry into someone deemed an unaccompanied minor at a California facility for migrants, according to the unions.

‘Patently unfair’

But according to the DA’s office, the status of those unaccompanied minors is not up to her department.

The unions want to recall her because they want her to do her job and hold these authorities accountable, said Alex Slater, a spokesperson for Ms Lacey.

Speaking to local radio station KPCC, Mr Slater said the efforts to recall the DA are “patently unfair”.

“We haven’t let them into a single ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] office anywhere in LA County,” Mr Slater said.

“People are being held accountable. And I think that’s what voters want.”

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Lacey has been the DA in Los Angeles County since 2006

The unions for everything from border patrol and airport security to the federal probation office also say Ms Lacey has “failed” to show up to court to testify to her cases.

They’re calling for Ms Lacey to be impeached – like in 2008 when former mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was charged with misusing the office and two other mayors in the past were kicked out of office.

In a Facebook post, the unions said Ms Lacey has also neglected the crime rate in the city and county.

They point to several cases involving murders, rapes and robberies, with mixed results.

Despite Ms Lacey’s insistence that she has only prosecuted prosecutors, that she has “been on the front lines of keeping our streets safe” and “really busting” the ‘kingpins’ and a drug ring, the unions say she is, in fact, overstepping her authority.

In one case, they say prosecutors did not pursue charges against suspects in an unsolved murder because the case could not be connected to Mexican nationals.

In another case, they say she held back evidence to protect a rapper who could face deportation for the gang-related crimes, according to reports by The New York Times.

And they say she has not prosecuted a human trafficking ring on the grounds that the case was too complex.

Ms Lacey’s detractors refer to this as “sanctuary cities” – an initiative meant to shield people, in particular immigrants, in the country illegally, from deportation.

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