Los Angeles’ Police Chief is seeking to change the way detained immigrants are handled in his city.
As it stands, people arrested on small charges can be held in jail for being undocumented and can be brought to the attention of federal immigration authorities. Chief Charlie Beck says this only causes more danger in his city, one of the reasons being that people might fail to report a crime for fear of backlash because of their status. And this is detrimental to the LA police department’s efforts to fight crime.
Early this week, it was announced that California Governor Jerry Brown would not support the “Anti-Arizona” Trust Act that would have changed the way local officials take part in the government’s Secure Communities program. This is a program that requires local authorities check the status of any arrested person in a federal database. The law was looking to make it so only those arrested for serious or violent crimes would be checked. Brown’s decision to not pass the law disappointed California immigrant advocate groups.
Beck is following the lead of other major California cities like San Francisco, San Diego and San Jose that have found ways to pass programs that help protect undocumented immigrants who have not committed serious crimes and are not wanted criminals.
Beck has yet to release the ordinance he intends to put in place. But the LA times reports that Beck plans to protect undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes like illegal vending, driving without a license and drinking in public.