PALMDALE – A newly formed immigrants-rights group Tuesday protested a new city ordinance that prohibits vehicles from stopping at east Palmdale’s Four Points intersection, where day laborers gather. The Antelope Valley Raza Rights Coalition also called on Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies to stop acting like immigration agents and called on the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale to become sanctuaries where people are not asked their immigration status. “Amid the pain and terror raids have already caused in the New Bedford community and beyond, we maintain the hope that both cities will do the right thing by responding positively to our demands,” said Anthony Topete, a 41-year-old Palmdale resident and member of the Brown Berets, a Chicano civil-rights organization that is one of the groups in the coalition. Topete was referring to an incident in New Bedford, Mass., where 361 people were detained in an immigration raid at a leather-goods factory. Most of the workers were women with children, setting off what the Democratic governor there called a “humanitarian crisis.” Topete said the coalition is protesting training of deputies to act like immigration agents to “detain people and deport them.” Sheriff’s officials said there is no such training. They said there is a pilot program in the jails in which the immigration status of people who have been convicted is determined, and that information is passed on to federal officials. “We do not detain or deport anybody on the streets,” said Steve Whitmore, spokesman for Sheriff Lee Baca. “After they are convicted, we then determine their status, if they are legally or illegally in our country, then we take the information and turn it over to federal authorities.” Palmdale Councilman Steve Hofbauer said he was not sympathetic to the coalition’s demands to repeal the new ordinance or for the city to become a sanctuary. He said the ordinance was approved in January to address issues of public safety and traffic hazards. The city had received numerous complaints about cars stopping suddenly at the Four Points intersection, Hofbauer said. Drivers parked their cars half on the road while they conducted job negotiations, Hofbauer said. “I’m not going to risk public funds and impair public safety because someone made a bad choice to stand in an area that is clearly hazardous and engage in hazardous activity. There’s a lot better way to do this, and that is not it,” Hofbauer said. Part of the Four Points intersection is state highway, meaning the state Transportation Department must approve any signs there, Hofbauer said. The Four Points intersection has been a focus of the Antelope Valley Independent Minutemen, a group against illegal immigration. The group’s first demonstration was in September at Four Points, where members protested loitering by day laborers, whom they presumed to be mostly, if not all, undocumented immigrants. They also protested the September 2005 death of off-duty paramedic Michael Sprinkles, whose motorcycle was hit by a compact car driven by an undocumented immigrant who had been deported in 1999 for crimes committed in the United States, but had a driver’s license under one of his many assumed names. The group’s members have also appeared before the Lancaster and Palmdale city councils, and members said their pressure was responsible for a Lancaster decision to reject Mexican matricular consular cards as identification for city business, and for Palmdale officials’ consideration of requiring companies with city contracts to verify that they are not employing people who are in the United States illegally. In November, the group demonstrated at a west Palmdale intersection where a young Palmdale man was fatally injured in a crash blamed on an unlicensed, uninsured, undocumented immigrant who tried to walk away after the collision. The protesters said local government officials should do more to deter illegal immigration, including turning over to federal authorities undocumented immigrants who have been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and similar crimes rather than releasing them to await trial. In a symbolic move, the Palmdale City Council in February passed a resolution calling on the federal government to enforce laws against illegal immigration and to reimburse local governments for expenses incurred providing services to undocumented immigrants.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! A handful of people from the coalition gathered Tuesday on Sierra Highway across the street from the Palmdale sheriff’s station and held signs. Some read, “Families Are Separated and Communities Are Living in Fear and Terror,” “Aliens Don’t Exist” and “Stop the War Against Migrants.” Down the street was counterprotester James Hux, 55, of Lancaster, who held an American flag and a sign that read, “25 to 35 Americans Are Killed Daily by Illegal Aliens.” He said he and his friends have been victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. “I’m here to protest their protest. Our immigration laws should be enforced and they are not being enforced,” said Hux, a disabled veteran. The immigrants coalition is made up of several groups, including the Brown Berets, Mexican American Political Association, Union Del Barrio and Sacred Heart Catholic Church Hispanic Ministries, Topete said.