Both LA Times (four reporters) and the New York Times (one reporter) cover the story today of over 100 violent Central American gang members being arrested around the country. And both papers report that many of those arrested are here in this country illegally, even though many of them have been deported several times. But only the New York Times' single writer - Charlie LeDuff, who has finally learned the territory - has the courage to cover the real story affecting LA - that over 30,000 criminals who are illegal aliens are preying on Angelinos. And that they are esentially being given sancuary here since the police are not allowed to even inquire if they are in this country illegally. Makes you wonder what else does not get covered in a one newspaper town. Below is the end of the New York Times article:
One problem with dealing with criminal illegal immigrants, law enforcement officials say, is that cities like Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and New York have either written or understood "sanctuary" policies that prohibit their law enforcement officers from asking a suspect about his immigration status. This makes it difficult for police officers to work with federal immigration authorities until an illegal immigrant commits a crime.
The thinking is that illegal immigrants who lead normal and productive lives would be unwilling to approach the police as witnesses if they feared that they, too, would be deported.
The problem is especially acute in Los Angeles, where gang members often return after being deported. Local police officers may know a criminal by face, but until they catch him in an illegal act, he is allowed to remain on the streets.
But a new era may be dawning in the fight against gangs, as police departments like Los Angeles's share street intelligence with the federal authorities.
"You think an immigrant Hispanic family who is here illegally would mind if we targeted the violent criminal?" Capt. Michael Downing, commander of the Hollywood precinct, asked. "I don't. But every time you mention it, they say it's a slippery slope and so the violent criminal is tolerated."
In Central America, the judicial system has employed a no-tolerance policy for gang members deported from the United States known as "mano dura" or the "hard hand." Gang members deported there may prefer to return to the United States rather than risk the long sentences for gang affiliation and particularly onerous prison life there.
Federal immigration officials estimate that there are 80,000 to 100,000 criminal illegal immigrants in the United States. If the 30,000 in the Los Angeles area were all to be apprehended at the same time, they would overwhelm the 1,400 beds allotted for them. So immigration officials say the current operation is meant to single out the most hardened criminals with longstanding gang ties.
"L.A. isn't the only place where this is happening," said Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for the immigration bureau. "We've thrown down the gauntlet, and this is only the beginning."