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The New York Times today used similar e-mails as our reporter Rob Davis did today to draw the conclusion that it appears ousted top prosecutor Carol Lam was indeed pushed out because of a difference in immigration policy.

The piece also features statements of support from District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and City Attorney Mike Aguirre:

Several of her colleagues said they were disturbed that Ms. Lam had learned about her ouster from material reportedly leaked to news organizations, in which her competence was seriously maligned.

“Carol Lam was a person of impeccable integrity,” said Bonnie M. Dumanis, the district attorney in San Diego, who worked closely with Ms. Lam on many issues. “I think those of us in law enforcement were sad to see her leave.”

But Ms. Lam’s decision to focus on high-level offenders in immigration cases, rather than to roll up large numbers of individual prosecutions, appears to have been a political miscalculation of the highest order.

While much of the nation frames the immigration debate around employment, in San Diego and other border areas illegal immigration is often linked with serious criminal activity. Crimes like the killing of a rookie police officer from Oceanside by a twice-deported illegal immigrant and convicted felon created a public appetite for get-tough tactics.

“The immigration issue is one that is exploited politically,” said Michael J. Aguirre, San Diego’s city attorney.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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