LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Since 2005, federal immigration agents have worked in Los Angeles County jails to determine whether or not inmates are in the country illegally, but not anymore.
On Tuesday, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to abolish the program known as 287(g), which also allowed for sheriff's deputies to act as immigration agents in the jails.
"The times are changing, it doesn't mean that we don't uphold the security and enforcement of our laws," supervisor Hilda Solis said.
Solis and Mark Ridley-Thomas introduced the motion to abolish the program with support from fellow supervisor Sheila Kuehl.
"I had never thought that the collaboration between the sheriff and ICE, or the Department of Homeland Security, would engender any kind of trust," Kuehl said.
Supervisors Don Knabe and Michael Antonovich voted against the motion.
"It's difficult to comprehend why we would eliminate a program that focuses exclusively on convicted criminals, whom even the Trust Act deems deportable," Antonovich said.
The 3-2 vote to abolish the program came after hours of testimony from people on both sides of the issue.
"When undocumented immigrants fear that any contact with the police will lead to deportation, they will not come forward to report crimes," civil rights activist Dolores Huerta said.
But supporters argued that the program works to get rid of dangerous criminals.
"There's a lot of people here whose family members are in the ground, in the wall, where illegal aliens get privilege for the American dream," said Jamiel Shaw Sr., whose son was shot death in 2008 by an undocumented immigrant who had been released from the L.A. County jail hours before the murder.
"My son would have been alive today. I wouldn't be here. Nobody would be here right now, if 287(g) was enforced," Shaw said.
While the 287(g) program was abolished Tuesday, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors did approve a new program that allows jail employees to communicate with immigration officials.
L.A. County Board of Supervisors ends 287(g) immigration enforcement program
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